Vietnam saves Myanmar sailors from stranded ship

TN News

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Rescuers in central Vietnam Tuesday morning managed to bring five Myanmar sailors to the shore after rough seas thwarted efforts for two days.

Teams from the Vietnam Marine Rescue Cooperation Center in Da Nang could not battle waves more than four meters to reach the victims. 

They then decided to send out a fishing boat, taking a rope 350 meters long, as the grounded ship was spotted at around 300 meters from the shore.

The five sailors from Myanmar were put on a life raft attached to the rope. Two people from the rescue center traveled with them.

Their journey to the shore, which took around half an hour, was hard. Some people were thrown off the raft and had to cling to the rope.

Tran Van Long, director of the rescue center, said the men were traveling on Onnekas One, a Malaysian ship of more than 3,000 tons that was being towed to Shanghai, China for repairs after a fire accident months ago.

Long said the Singapore tow boat had left the boat after a sea incident that has not been specified, leaving the latter to float until it was stuck near the shore of Thua Thien-Hue Province's Quang Dien District on December 23.

The victims, including captain Kyaw Kyaw Oo, 41, have been taken to a guest house of local coast guards, and will be sent home after necessary procedures are completed.

Earlier on Monday, Vietnamese fishermen in the southern province of Soc Trang rescued an American tourist from his cruiser that was adrift in seas more than 37 kilometers offshore.

Kenneth Putney, 45, has been handed over to the local coast guards.

Putney said his cruiser was being towed by a boat from the Philippines and on its way to Thailand. But its cable to the bigger boat was cut in rough waters and he has been floating since December 15, without "food or energy" for seven days. Without power, he was not able to contact the bigger boat.

Many fishing boats from the south central province of Binh Dinh have also been caught in rough waters recently.

One boat was towed to shore on Monday after the waves broke its anchor and engines the previous night.

Another sank the same day after its seven crew members were rescued, causing damage worth around VND1 billion (US$48,000) including fishing equipment and 2.5 tons of tuna.

Rescue forces are looking for a 40-year-old fisherman who fell off his Binh Dinh boat on the night of December 23, and trying to reach another Binh Dinh boat whose engine broke down offshore. A fisherman on the boat has had his legs broken in an accident, local reports said.

The Vietnam Marine Rescue Cooperation Center has called for support from Chinese search and rescue forces.

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