Philippines Rescues Crew After Vietnamese Cargo Ship Takes on Water
The Philippine Coast Guard and Philippine National Police Maritime Group report they safely evacuated 17 Vietnamese crewmembers after their cargo ship began taking on water overnight in the southern Philippines. They are continuing to monitor the condition of the vessel and are on patrol for potential oil leaks.
The Viet Hai Star (4,000 dwt) had departed Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam on November 15 and was carrying 80,000 bags (approximately 4,000 tons) of rice. The vessel registered in Vietnam was built in 2008 and is 287 feet in length with a crew of 17. It was heading to Cagayan de Oro City on Mindanao.
The vessel radioed for assistance around 9:00 p.m. on November 21 about 800 yards off the coast of Balabac on the southwestern edge of the Philippines. According to the PCG the vessel reported its crew “discovered a leak at the starboard side of the vessel.” Some reports indicate that the vessel might have grounded while others appear to indicate the vessel was intentionally grounded after the leak was discovered.
The SAR operation reached the vessel by approximately 9:45 p.m. and stood by while the crew attempted to control the leak. They reported that the forward compartment had already flooded. At 4:20 a.m. the decision was made to abandon the vessel and the crew was transported by the Philippine authorities to Balabac Port.
As of Wednesday morning, November 22, the PCG is reporting the vessel was “already half submerged.” They have not found any signs of an oil leak.