>> Vietnamese ship in distress off Indian coast
The 4,374 DWT Anh Son ship was carrying wood from the northern port city of Hai Phong to India when its steering system broke down on June 26. The vessel, with 15 crewmembers on board, has since drifted off its route, although it has contacted relevant agencies for help.
Vuong said his company has hired an Indian rescue company to tow the ship to the Indian port of Kolkata to unload its cargo.
The Indian port authority said they have allowed the towing provided that the ship obtains a written guarantee from its insurer to repay the towing cost, which is estimated at US$250,000 – an amount that exceeds the company’s financial ability, Vuong said.
Meanwhile, the insurer, whose names is yet to be announced, refused to grant such a guarantee, explaining the distress is a kind of "unexpected fault" and thus does not belong to its insurance liability.
As the ship’s crew has, the vessel is listing at an angle of 20 degrees and could sink if it remains stranded. It also reported that it has run out of food and drinking water.
On June 3, at the request of the Vietnam Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC Vietnam), its Indian counterpart, MRCC Chennai, sent planes and rescue boats to the distressed boat, and it later informed that all the crewmembers remained on the ship.
At 6 am on July 4, MRCC Chennai reported that the ship was located 30 nautical miles off the Indian coast, and all crew members are safe.
At 8:45 am yesterday, MRCC Chennai said that it had deployed supporting facilities around the distressed ship and that the crewmembers’ health was normal. The agency also promised to provide food and water to the ship, at the request of MRCC Vietnam.
As reported by the ship, the crewmembers have had to eat porridge for the past two days and their health has worsened.
MRCC Chennai asked the ship’s owner and its insurer to necessary actions for towing the ship ashore.
Yesterday, Anh Son Co Ltd, based in Hai Phong, continued negotiating with its insurer over the required guarantee, while MRCC Vietnam was boosting its coordination with both relevant Vietnamese and Indian agencies to accelerate rescue activities.