Twelve Crewmembers Aboard Chinese Bulker Die of Food Poisoning
A Chinese bulk carrier diverted to Vietnam overnight requesting emergency medical assistance after reporting that crewmembers were violently ill. The medical authorities in Vietnam are reporting that 12 of the crewmembers have died and nine others are in critical condition in a hospital all believed to be suffering from food poisoning. There was a total of 21 crew aboard.
The bulk carrier Wu Zhou 8 (76,000 dwt) had been in Kohsichan Port, Thailand loading. The vessel reported departed on September 27 with a cargo of cassava, an edible starchy tuberous root, bound for China where it was due to arrive on October 8.
Vietnamese officials are reporting that the captain of the bulker radioed for medical assistance. They were initially told that 18 crewmembers were ill with what was believed to be food poisoning. The authorities ordered the vessel to divert to Vietnam. A rescue helicopter reached the vessel when it was approximately 60 nautical miles from Con Dao island in southern Vietnam.
The medical teams reported that by the time they reached the vessel 10 crewmembers had died and that the remainding crewmembers looked seriously ill and in need of immediate treatment. The decision was made to airlift the remaining 11 crew to a Vietnamese hospital. One additional crewmember died in transit to the hospital and another after reaching the hospital. The other crewmembers are in the hospital in Con Dao.
While the medical teams are saying that they believe the cause of death was food poisoning, the Vietnamese authorities are saying it is unclear what the crew might have eaten andhtey are investigating to confirm the cause of the deaths.
A rescue ship of the VungTau MRC is reported on its way to tow the abandoned bulker to a safe location.