Waves break ship in mid-route off central Vietnam

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A high-speed ship carrying 175 passengers was damaged by waves when it was off the central province of Binh Thuan Tuesday, but all the passengers were rescued, according to local border guards.


The incident happened when the Hoang Phuc No.01 was carrying the passengers and ten tons of goods from the Phu Quy Island to Phan Thiet Resort Town, said the Binh Thuan's Border Guards' Headquarters.


It was about ten sea miles from the island when waves broke the left side of the ship's prow, they said, adding that the broken part covered about two square meters. The front windows were also broken, allowing water to flow into the passenger hold.


The passengers were panicked and asked for help, but they were soon rescued by local border guards, while the damaged ship was towed to the safety, according to officials.


Initial information showed that the ship was bought by Hoang Phuc Co. Ltd, headquartered on Phu Quy Island, from the southern province of Kien Giang for operating on the route Phu Quy Phan Thiet on Tet (Vietnam's Lunar New Year that fell in February).


However, due to some technical problems, it wasn't put into operation until that day. Before the accident the ship had completed a trip from Phan Thiet to Phu Quy, which is some 60 nautical miles away.


Do Thanh Liem, director of Hoang Phuc Company, said the ship originated from Australia and was licensed by the Vietnam Marine Administration.


The troubled trip from Phu Quy to Phan Thiet was licensed by Binh Thuan's Port Authorities, according to Liem.


Meanwhile, Pham Van Nam, vice director of Binh Thuan Department of Transport, said they will ask the Vietnam Marine Administration to re-check the ship's quality.


"We can't rest assured to let a ship which has quality looking new but had an accident right after it was launch carry hundreds of passengers on a distance of nearly 60 nautical miles," Nam said.

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