Survivor of sunken ship flies home

Sole survivor Dau Ngoc Hung of sunken ship Vinalines Queen cargo vessel arrived in Hanoi on Jan. 4 from Singapore.
Seaman Dau Ngoc Hung, the sole survivor found after the sinking of Vietnam’s Vinalines Queen cargo vessel, arrived in Hanoi on Jan. 4 from Singapore.

Earlier, the Vietnamese Embassy in the island-state received him from the British ship London Courage.

The British vessel rescued Hung on Dec. 30, 2011 after he had been drifting for five days on a life raft.

Hung, born in 1980 in central Nghe An province, is the only one of the 23 seamen to have so far been found alive after the Vinalines Queen disappeared off Luzon Island on Christmas Day.

At the time, it was transporting 54,000 tonnes of nickel ore from Indonesia to China within the territory of the Phillipines.

“I went down with the vessel when it became distressed,” Hung recalled. “However, when the pull of the ship faded, I rose to the surface. I was lucky to catch a lifebuoy.”

“However a day later, the lifebuoy was overturned by heavy waves. I tried to find a lifeboat from Vinalines Queen and was successful. It had enough food, water and medicine for me until I was found by the British ship,” he said.

“The whole incident happened so fast we only heard the captain ask crewmen to put on lifejackets when the vessel stared to list to one side,” he added.

“The waves were so strong. I was on the ship’s foredeck at the time and the lifeboats had not been lowered. I was thrown off the ship as it started to sink. I got into a state of panic as everything on board was swept down, including myself. I could not see a thing," Hung said.

After his rescue, Hung asked the Vietnam Maritime Rescue Centre to continue searching for the missing sailors.

Vinalines is working with foreign partners in the search for the 22 missing sailors.

Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang said the search would go on regardless of cost.

Representative from the owners of Vinalines Queen said apart from hiring planes and Phillipine vessels to join the search, Vinalines Shipping Company would also hire Filipino fishing vessels to help in the search.

The company has also asked Japan to continue sending search vessels.

Vinalines and the Vietnamese Embassy in Manila have worked with the navy of The Philippines and its coast guard to co-ordinate the search./.

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