While efforts to search for the 22 missing crewmembers in the sinking of the Vinaline Queen late last month continue, ceremonies of requiem and prayers for peace for them were held in Hai Phong City yesterday.
| The 3-day requiem for the 22 missing crewmembers began yesterday in Hai Phong City |
The families of the victims, along with Buddhists and thousands of local people, attended the 3-day event, which was held at the Thang Phuc Pagoda in Tien Lang District.
Transport Minister Dinh La Thang and officials from the local authorities, Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines), Vietnam Ocean Shipping Joint Stock Company (Vosco), and Vietnam Maritime Rescue Cooperation Center (Vietnam MRCC) were also present in the ceremony.
Representing the families of the victims, Tran Thi Thang, the wife of the sunken boat’s chief mechanic, Le Ba Truc said, “We believe that our relatives might have drifted to somewhere – a coral island, a small desert island near the area where their boat sunk. Although it is just a faint hope, we do hope agencies, at home and abroad, continue to look for the victims.”
31-year-old Dau Ngoc Hung, the only survivor of the accident, said, “I was lucky to survive the disaster, but I feel great grief over my 22 missing mates in the immense sea for the past 15 days. I hope a miracle happens to all the victims.”
Nguyen Anh Vu, general director of the Vietnam MRCC, said the search by rescue forces of foreign countries and territories had ended after they found no signs of the victims.
However, the agency continues to request all vessels travelling by the area to search for the victims.
A working group of Vinalines remains in the Philippines to continue its search. Only when there is an official conclusion about the fate of the victims will the search is terminated, Bui Van Cac, the company’s deputy director, said.
The Vinalines Queen, with 23 crewmembers aboard, sank on December 25, 2011 as it was en route to China from Indonesia, carrying more than 54,000 tons of nickel ore.
Hung, the only survivor, was saved by the British ship London Courage on December 30, after he had drifted at sea for five days.