On Tuesday, a Vietnamese cargo ship, along with its 22 crewmembers, sank off Sri Lanka. 18 were rescued successfully, but 4 remain missing – including the ship’s captain.
Around noon (local time), the Vietnam Maritime Search and Rescue Co-ordination Center (MRCC) received emergency signals indicating a potentially hazardous situation from the Saigon Queen while it was transporting wood products from Myanmar to India, reports Sri Lankan newspaper The Nation.
Shortly afterwards, all contact with the vessel was lost due to extreme weather conditions. Some surviving crewmen said that the ship was rolling from side to side, causing the cargo onboard to move, and forcing them to refasten the goods.
In coordination with the Vietnam Shipping Communications and Electronics Company, the MRCC was eventually able to send out urgent messages calling for rescue efforts from nearby ships and other maritime rescue forces, including the U.S. Coast Guard.
About 9 hours after the initial report of danger, crew from the Cyprus-flagged Pacific Skipper saved 3 and maintained contact with 15 others who were adrift on their life rafts after the ship sank. All these people were rescued later.
Search and rescue operations for the 4 men still missing are still ongoing. There has been no further information regarding their fate.
The sunken ship is owned by the Saigon Shipping Joint Stock Company and was built in 2006 by the Saigon Shipbuilding Industry Co.