Video: Shipwrecks Slow Traffic at Port of Quy Nhon
Authorities in the Vietnamese seaport of Quy Nhon are still working to return to business as usual after a typhoon sank or damaged nine freighters at the port's anchorage last weekend. SAR crews have rescued 71 people and located 11 bodies, leaving just two missing.
18 rescue ships are still participating in the SAR effort, according to Maj. Gen. Le Manh Tien, and divers are searching the sunken wrecks. High turbidity and strong currents have made the underwater search "very difficult," he said.
The vessels' owners are responsible for surveying the sunken wrecks and preparing salvage plans, but Vietnamese defense forces will be active in ensuring pollution prevention during the salvage phase, Tien said. Many of the vessels were anchored near the sea buoy for Quy Nhon's entrance channel before the storm, and at least one – the Biển Bắc 16 – went down within the channel itself.
The wreckage has restricted maritime commerce at Quy Nhon and has made it impossible for large vessels to transit the channel at night. Ordinarily, the port sees between five and seven large vessels a day, according to Quy Nhon maritime administration director Bui Van Vuong, but traffic is sharply down due to navigational hazards in the channel. It is not yet known when salvage efforts will be completed.
Scores of ships were in or near Quy Nhon's harbor when Typhoon Damrey made landfall. The chairman of Binh Dinh province's People's Committee, Ho Quoc Dung, explained that the crowding resulted from the vessels’ attempts to escape the storm. Typhoon Damrey was expected to make landfall near Nha Trangh, 90 nm to the south. Many vessels sought shelter at Quy Nhon in order to stay out of its path, but the storm’s reach was wide enough to affect areas well to the north of its epicenter.