Dang Thu Thao, from the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, was crowned Vietnam’s Miss Ocean 2014 at the finale of the pageant, which was making its debut, in the central province of Binh Thuan on May 25.

The first runner-up went to Le Thi Ha Thu from the central province of Thua Thien-Hue while Le Thi Van Quynh from Hanoi finished third.

In their speeches, contestants conveyed the message that people from all walks of life nationwide must stand united to safeguard Vietnam’s sovereignty over its seas and islands.

The organising board presented 400 million VND (19,000 USD) to a fund launched by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper in support of Vietnamese coast guards and fisheries officers operating in the East Sea.

The provincial Tourism Association also granted 100 million VND (4,700 USD) in aid for officers in Truong Sa and Hoang Sa archipelagos.

Following the coronation, the three top-placed contestants will become representatives of the Blue Ocean World project that campaigns for the protection of Vietnam’s marine environment.

The project is co-initiated by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s Vietnam Environment Protection Fund and Vo Viet Chung company.-VNA