HA NOI — Two Vietnamese sailors sustained serious injuries in a fire that broke out on Wednesday aboard the South Korean fishing vessel Jung Woo 2.
The unexplained incident occurred in the Ross Sea, about 3,700km south-east of New Zealand, according to the Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ).
Seven injured sailors in total were being transported by a United States Airforce (USAF) C-130 Hercules to a hospital in Christchurch, New Zealand for further treatment. The aircraft was expected to arrive at 8.45 yesterday evening.
Forty crew members, including 23 Vietnamese sailors, were aboard the fishing vessel at the time of the incident.
Three Vietnamese sailors died and seven other crew members, including four Vietnamese, suffered minor injuries in the blaze.
The 51-metre fishing vessel, built in 1985, was still burning when the rescue team approached it yesterday.
Jung Woo 2's sister vessel, the Jung Woo 3, was scheduled to travel to the site to tow the vessel out of the Antarctic to minimise any environmental impacts.
Authorised agencies in South Korea are looking into the cause of the blaze.
Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Hong Cuong is expected to land in Christchurch today to visit the injured victims.
Viet Nam's Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs' Overseas Labour Management Department yesterday ordered Human Resource Development Corporation (LOD) and Civil Engineering Construction Corporation No I, which sent the sailors to work on the Jung Woo 2, to inform the victims' families of the incident.
On the same day, the Foreign Ministry's Consular Department ordered the companies to provide detailed information about the victims to the Vietnamese Embassy in New Zealand. The information would help complete all of the legal procedures for the Vietnamese victims to return home.
All of the Vietnamese sailors working on the Jung Woo 2 are legal labourers, so the insurance policy will give each victim's family a maximum compensation of US$16,000 if their relatives die or remain missing as a cause of the accident.
Compensation will be offered to other victims based on the level of their injuries.
Deputy Director of LOD Le Nhat Tan said the company visited the victims' families yesterday morning and offered each of them VND10 million ($480) in support.
The department's Job Support Fund will also provide aid to the victims. — VNS