Families say have no information about sailors on missing Taiwan boat

Thanh Nien News

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The families of two Vietnamese sailors of a Taiwanese ship that vanished in South Atlantic Ocean late last month said they have not received any information about their loved ones, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported.
On Monday, Vietnam's Overseas Labor Department said it had identified the two Vietnamese sailors as Tran Van Cuong, 28, and Nguyen Van Thuan, 40, hailing from the central provinces of Ha Tinh and Nghe An. 
The pair was among 49 crew members aboard the Hsiang Fu Chun, a 700-ton squid fishing vessel, which was sailing about 1,700 nautical miles from the Falklands Islands when it vanished early on February 26.
The other members included 11 Chinese, 21 Indonesian, 13 Filipino and two Taiwanese. 
The Vietnamese sailors joined the crew in January.
Their families told Tuoi Tre they had not been informed of the ship’s disappearance as well as the pair’s whereabouts. 
On Monday, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Pham Thu Hang told the press Vietnam has asked its embassy in Argentina and the Vietnamese diplomatic office in Taiwan to work with local authorities to seek information about the sailors. 
Taiwan is still conducting search for the missing ship and is asking for assistance from Argentina and Britain, as well as other ships in the area.
Vietnamese laborers once formed the biggest group of guest workers in Taiwan, according to the China Post.
But Taiwan put in place the ban on Vietnamese domestic helpers in January 2004 and Vietnamese fishing workers in May 2004. 
Since then, the number of Vietnamese workers in Taiwan has dropped sharply. 
Taiwan is expected to reopen its doors this year to domestic helpers and fishing workers from Vietnam, the China Post quoted Taiwanese labor minister Chen Hsiung-wen as saying Sunday. 
If the negotiations between Taiwan and Vietnam go smoothly, the ban may be lifted next month at the earliest, he said.

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