Tanker spills oil in central Vietnam port

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A Ho Chi Minh City-based ship caused a severe oil spill off the coast of the south-central Phu Yen Province early this week.

On Wednesday (October 6), Nguyen Dang Vu, a representative from the Quy Nhon Maritime and Port Authority of Phu Yen at Vung Ro Port, said Viet Tin 01 (owned by Viet Tin Transport Joint Stock Company) was pumping oil into a petrol station owned by the Phu Yen Material Joint Stock Company early Tuesday when a technical error caused a drop in hose pressure.

When the oil pipe was removed from the manifold, between 150- 200 liters of oil suspended in the line spilled into the sea, Vu said.

Vu said that initially none of the ships in the port area admitted to causing the oil spill. Police and marine authorities in the region had to take samples of the oil to determine its origin, he said.

However, Thanh Nien reporters witnessed a group of Viet Tin's employees arrive at the port following the spill. The employees were seen using buoys and blotting paper to collect the oil around rocks.

According to a report published by Tuoi Tre, on Wednesday, Vung Ro port officials allowed a Viet Tin ship to leave for another port in Can Tho late on Tuesday, after the crew promised it would return to fix the problem later.

Some suspect that local authorities colluded with the Viet Tin Company in a botched cover-up.

Truong Phu Huu, manager at the petrol station, told Thanh Nien that there had been no leakage during the oil transfer from the boat.

But, representatives from the Viet Tin Company have since promised to take responsibility for the spill.

The Viet Tin ship was carrying four million liters of diesel oil from Dung Quat Refinery in the central Quang Ngai Province but it stopped pumping after unloading just one million liters. Huu said the oil transfer to his store was intended to lighten the ship's load, so that it could enter another port in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho.

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