Ship ordered to pay $68,500 for hit-and-run accident off central Vietnam

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Authorities in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue Tuesday slapped a fine of VND15.5 million (US$744) on a cargo ship and ordered it to compensate VND1.38 billion ($67,800) for a fishing boat it sank last month in a high-seas version of hit-and-run.

The boat was fined VND10 million for violating maritime safety, VND5 million for fleeing the scene of the accident, and VND500,000 for false reporting of the number of crew members aboard at the time of the accident.

The vessel is owned by the Nghi Son Cement Corporation, a joint-venture involving a Japanese firm based in the northern province of Thanh Hoa.

On October 19 the ship, which weighs more than 10,000 tons, hit Le Giap's fishing vessel 130 kilometers off the coast, and did not stop to rescue the fishermen who had fallen into the ocean.

All six people on the boat including Giap, 41, were also injured, while the vessel sank within minutes of the crash. They were saved by other fishing boats after spending hours in the water.

Meanwhile, another fishing boat gave chase and noted its description to report to the authorities.

Thua Thien-Hue soldiers on October 22 had to chase the boat to a port in Da Nang down south as it refused to stop.

Nghi Son has also been ordered to pay for the injured fishermen's treatment, and more than VND33.3 million to cover the fuel cost of the fishing boat that gave chase.

The vessel is being held at Chan May Port in Thua Thien-Hue pending payment.

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