Hanoi: A Vietnamese cargo boat that vanished
near the Philippines on Christmas Day has sunk, killing 22 of
its 23 crew members, Vietnam state shipping firm Vinalines
said on Friday.
"According to our initial information, only one sailor
has been rescued and the vessel has not been found yet," a
Vinalines official based in Hanoi told a news agency, asking not to be
The Vinalines Queen disappeared after passing Luzon
island and apparently did not send out a distress signal.
Late today online newspaper Dan Tri reported that the
surviving sailor, Dau Ngoc Hung, was rescued by a British ship
which was heading towards Singapore.
Vinalines said its ship was carrying more than 54,000
tonnes of nickel ore and was travelling from Indonesia to
China when it lost contact.
Vietnam appealed to the Philippines, Taiwan and Japanese
coastguards for help in finding the vessel, but had heard
nothing from the ship until now.
"We are now focussing our efforts on searching for the
Vinalines Queen," the company official added.
Rescue experts quoted in the local press said emergency
equipment in the vessel should have automatically sent SOS
signals to satellites and coastal rescue stations. It is not
yet clear why none was transmitted.
The Japanese-built 190 metre Vinalines Queen was one of
the largest and most modern cargo ships in the Vietnamese
fleet, with a capacity of more than 56,000 tonnes. It had been
in service for Vinalines since 2005.
Vietnam National Shipping Lines, or Vinalines, is one of
the communist country`s main state-owned enterprises.