The Vietnamese Embassy in the Republic of Korea (RoK) Monday issued a diplomatic note requesting RoK authorised agencies assist the search for three Vietnamese sailors who went missing after a RoK trawler sank off Antarctica.
The diplomatic note also asked the agencies to ensure the safety of rescued Vietnamese residents and hold funeral observances for one sailor who was confirmed dead.
Earlier, the RoK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade officially confirmed that 11 out of 42 sailors on board the trawler No. 1 Insung, which sank in Antarctic waters on the morning of December 13, were Vietnamese, of whom, one died, three were missing and seven rescued.
According to Maritime New Zealand, it would be hard for the missing men to survive, as they were not wearing lifejackets or protective gear.
The trawler went down so fast, even it did not have time to send an SOS signal before plunging to the depths of the Southern Ocean, the agency said.
The Insung Corporation spokesperson said the vessel may have been hit by an iceberg or a strong wave. “We are now collecting information from the surviving crew,” he said.
On the same day, answering reporters’ questions on protection measures for Vietnamese citizens, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga said the ministry asked the RoK and New Zealand to promptly provide reasons for the sinking, identify dead person and continue to closely coordinate with the Vietnamese side in protecting citizens and supporting people in distress.
The Overseas Labour Management Department and the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs asked companies which despatched crews to direct executives to study the case and coordinate with the Foreign Ministry and partners to ensure the rights and interests of the Vietnamese sailors, she said.
There were a total of 42 crew members on the 614-DWT vessel, including eight RoK people, eight Chinese, 11 Vietnamese, 11 Indonesians, three Filipinos and one Russian.
So far, five of crew members have been confirmed dead and 17 others are missing. The remaining 20 people were rescued by another RoK fishing vessel operating nearby