The Vietnam Maritime Administration carried out a search and rescue exercise in the Saigon–Vung Tau channel between Dong Nai port and Ho Chi Minh City on September 15.

Nguyen Nhat, Director of the Vietnam Maritime Administration, said the drill was to establish a search and rescue system for port waters, particularly with regard to receiving and processing of information, which enables the Port Authority to effectively fulfill its duty to run search and rescue operations and coordinate between all relevant authorities.

The exercise was based on the scenario of strong southwestern wind, accompanied by big waves, during which a dry cargo ship weighing 2,500 tonnes was traversing the channel from Ho Chi Minh City to Dong Nai, while a ferry boat with 50 passengers was coming from the opposite direction. Upon entering the Ben Nghe Phu Huu port, the ferry boat lost control and collided with the cargo ship.

Consequently, the ferryboat capsized and the passengers jumped overboard, whilst the cargo ship went up in flames and spilled oil into the sea.

The Ho Chi Minh Port Authority collaborated effectively and promptly with all the relevant units, receiving and processing the necessary information to conduct search and rescue operations at the accident scene, including taking people out of the water, evacuating passengers from the ships, extinguishing the fire and cleaning up the oil spill.

The drill was completed in two hours.

According to the Vietnam Maritime Administration, the maritime search and rescue division has to deal with 200-250 cases every year, including foreign and domestic accidents and incidents at sea, thus asserting Vietnam’s territorial sovereignty and prestige as well as building a safety, reliable investment environment in sea-based economic activities.-VNA