PHU YEN — The Da Rang River mouth in central coastal Phu Yen Province's Tuy Hoa City has been narrowed over the past month as a result of sand encroachment, causing difficulties in the movement of hundreds of ships.
When the tide ebbs, the sea water level is only 1m in depth at the river's mouth, which has shrunk to 30m in width, making it impossible for fishing vessels to enter the harbour.
Normally, the water level should be 2.5 m and upwards for ships to move, according to Head of Da Rang Coast Guard Nguyen Ngoc Ry.
A fishing ship with a capacity of 165CV and 10 fishermen onboard was caught in shoals at the river mouth on Tuesday evening. Local authorities had to mobilise 20 soldiers, 70 fishermen and six smaller boats to rescue the vessel.
Around 50 fishing ships go through the Da Rang River mouth each day and it takes each ship between one to two hours and 30 litres of fuel to come into the harbour and even between one and two days for big ships, Ry said.
"Around 40 soldiers are on duty everyday in readiness to help ships caught in the shoals," he added.
Local authorities assigned some fishermen to guard near the river mouth and use walkie-talkies to guide ships to safety.
Tuy Hoa City People's Committee Vice Chairman Ho Duc Hung said the Da Rang River mouth was encroached by around 490,000cu.m of sand over the past months.
The committee proposed that provincial authorities promptly dredge the river mouth to ensure safety passage.
At a working session with leaders of Tuy Hoa City last Friday, Phu Yen Province People's Committee Chairman Pham Dinh Cu said the province was considering a project to exploit sand at the Da Rang River mouth to help enlarge it. — VNS