Families pray as Vinalines ship still missing

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Báo Tuổi Trẻ English - 36 month(s) ago 3 readings

Families pray as Vinalines ship still missing

Families of the 23 crew members aboard the Vinalines Queen cargo ship that has gone missing in the Philippines seas since December 25 have been anxiously waiting.

Vu Thien Phong The photo of Vu Thien Phong, a crewman on the Vinalines Queen ship, has been used as the Facebook profile picture of his younger sister's Vu Thi Hong Nhung.

Despite some oil slicks being found, no other trace or contact has been detected.

Among the 23 crewmen, 12 hail from Hai Phong in the north.

When we came to the house of Do Van Tinh, father of 31-year-old crewman Do Anh Duc, at Dang Kim No Street of Hai Phong’s Le Chan District, we saw all family members looking fixedly at the computer to search for the latest news of the ship. A television nearby is turned on 24/7.

“By far, all we can do is to pray for the ship with the hope of the possibility that the ship has got lost or has been held by pirates,” Tinh said, adding they are expecting a miracle for the ship and its crewmen.

At the house of 24-year-old Bui Van Phuc who is in charge of maintaining machinery on the vessel, anxiousness and trouble were seen clearly on the faces of his relatives.

Bui Dinh Phung, Phuc’s father, said it was not until yesterday evening that his family was notified of the missing because they are in rural areas, which have limited access to the media.

Phung told Tuoi Tre that Phuc has just graduated from university and this is his first trip to the sea.

He added two days before the terrible news, Phuc phoned home to inquire about the family’s heath and said he was going to come back home to celebrate Tet (Lunar New Year) and help rebuild the house.

“We now just hope the ship will get out of danger and my son will return home safe and sound”.

Vinalines Queen Ship

File photo of Vinalines Queen ship

In the mean time, Vu Thi Hong Nhung, younger sister of 24-year-old Vu Thien Phong hailing from Dang Lam Ward of Hai Phong’s Hai An District, cried so bitterly her eyes turned red.

Nhung told Tuoi Tre this is also Phong’s first trip to the sea and he has just graduated from university.

“Since the beginning of his business trip, my bother got in touch with the family via phone or Facebook almost everyday. The last time he communicated with me is around 1:00am on December 24 when he sent a Facebook message to me, saying: “I’m traveling from Indonesia to China. Now I have to do my duty. Good night to you and mom!”

“My brother is on board the Vinalines Queen. If there is miracle in life, I hope that all my friends will join me to pray for him so that he will soon come back home,” Nhung wrote on her own Facebook wall.

According to Vinalines Shipping, the owner of the Vinalines Queen, the vessel went missing at 7am upon reaching the area northeast of Luzon Island, in the Philippines while carrying 54,400 tons of Nikel ore from Indonesia’s Morowali port to Ningde port in China.

Before that, the ship had sent a signal to the company saying it was listing at an 18 degree incline.

Vinalines said the vessel, built in Japan in 2005, is equipped with an advanced self-protection system that is able to send out emergency signals in potentially hazardous situations. This allows rescue forces to detect its location even when it is under water.

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