Foreign ship spills oil into reef off Vietnam

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Bright Royal, a Panamanian-owned bulk carrier, stuck on a reef off the central province of Quang Ngai./ PHOTO: PHAM VAN

Vietnamese authorities are trying to contain the spilling of nearly 400 tons of oil from a Panamanian ship that has been stuck on a reef off the country's central coast since Friday.

Quang Ngai Province's People's Committee has ordered local agencies to launch emergency measures for handling the oil spill that is taking place about nine sea miles off Ly Son Island.

If local authorities cannot help the problem, the National Committee for Search and Rescue and the Center for Oil Spill Response in the Central Region will step in and evacuate the troubled ship Bright Royal's crew of 24 members.

According to the Maritime Administration of Quang Ngai, the ship is now at a high risk of sinking, but its captain refused to evacuate the crew despite being urged by Vietnamese authorities to do so.

Meanwhile, efforts to contain the oil spill are being hampered by violent waters, Le Van Luong, vice director of the provincial maritime administration, told Thanh Nien.

He stressed that local agencies need help from the central region's response center as the amount of oil is "quite big."

The administration said 387 tons of oil from two tanks has leaked from a hole in the ship's bottom so far.

The spill's area is now some 20 meters wide and one kilometer long, it said.

Col. Nguyen Tran Manh, vice director of the oil spill response center, told the government website that his agency was ready to send rescue teams to the site right as soon as ordered to do so.

Bright Royal was carrying more than 27 tons of clinker from the central province of Ha Tinh to Bangladesh when the accident happened.

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