Rescuers teams have retrieved one survivor and two bodies as they searched the area where a Bahaman bulk carrier with all-Filippino crew members sank on Friday in the East Sea, some 150 nautical miles off Vung Tau Town.
The Vietnam Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Centre (VMRCC) said it received emergency signals at 7 a.m. on January 2 from the ship Bulk Jupiter, which were carrying 46,400 tons of iron ores from Malaysia to China.
What caused the ship, with 19 Filipino crew members aboard, to sink is still "unknown," VMRCC said.
After receiving the distress signal, VMRCC sent a rescue vessel to the area, around 150 nautical miles from the southern beach town of Vung Tau.
Other ships sailing in the area were asked to help with the search for the missing crew.
At 10.56 a.m., a Nigerian container ship found an lifeboat and a life raft, both of which were empty.
At 2.10 p.m., the Omani tug boat OLNG Muttrah retrieved one surviving crew member who said he was the chief cook of Bulk Jupiter.
OLNG Muttrah also recovered the body of a man later identified as the captain of the sunk vessel.
A Singaporean ship later recovered the body of another crew member.
VMRCC said the search and rescue operation continues and is being stepped up according to a statement by Gearbulk, the owner of the vessel Bulk Jupiter.
According to the marine website Vesseltracker.com, based on previous incidents such as the loss of the Vinalines Queen, the TransSummer, and other ships over the past few years, it is likely the ship sank as a result of cargo liquefaction, or a loss of ship’s stability from the internal movement of the cargo.