A ship has been stranded under rocks off the coast of Hon Tre Island in southern Khanh Hoa province, leaving about 1,250 tonnes of fertiliser at risk for getting wet, the Maritime Administration of Nha Trang Deputy Director Tran Duc Thi has said.

Holes were discovered in the cargo ship,Truong Giang 54, carrying 2,000 tonnes of fertiliser, last week as it was heading from southern Dong Nai province to the northern Hai Phong city.

According to Thi, the fertiliser has a low risk of damaging the surrounding environment as it is covered with waterproof wrapping. He said that although the ship remains floating, the rescue vessel failed to pull the ship from its stranded spot.

The agency has mobilised a barge and multiple fishing boats to unload more than 700 tonnes of fertiliser and 8cu.m. of oil from the ship. He added that bad weather with winds gusting up to 49kph and rough seas hindered the rescue mission.

"Only fishing vessels can approach the ship today due to bad weather," he said.

"We are trying our best to unload packs of wet fertiliser as soon as possible as water is rapidly spreading to one of the two ships' holds," Thi said.

The rescue team plans to repair the holes once all the cargo is unloaded. The exact cause of the wreckage remains unknown.

The Visal 8, an advanced rescue ship, began recovery operations for the remaining sailors of the sunken Van Don No2 cargo ship on Jan. 4 morning but the operations faced difficulties due to rough sea.

The ship, carrying 23 crew members, sank at about 2.58am, December 29 in the East Sea .

Twelve sailors were rescued the following day, but another 11 are thought to have been trapped inside the ship that is now 40m below the surface.

On the evening of January 3, the rescue dive team went down to the site of the ship to capture video footage of the scene. They have proposed several ways of raising the ship to the surface.

Quang Ninh Marine Logistics and Import-export Company, which owns the Van Don ship, has already given 10 million VND (5,000 USD) in aid to the families of the missing sailors. In the case of death, they will receive 25,000 USD in compensation./.