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A captain and his crew master the sea

Update: February, 01/2015 - 16:56
Shipshape: Ship KN781 of the Viet Nam Fisheries Resources Surveillance force during a training session.

Unfazed by seasickness, Captain Ta Quang Hung navigates the waves with confidence to rescue ships in trouble. Nguyen Duy Hien reports.

During his 14 years as captain of several ships, Ta Quang Hung not only organised hundreds of safe voyages, but also helped rescue several ships, boats and 70 fishermen.

As captain of the KN781, one of the most modern ships of the Viet Nam Fisheries Resources Surveillance force, Hung keeps improving his competence in scientific and technological matters, and trains staff in technical and tactical responsibilities and duties.

Man of the sea

On meeting Captain Hung at the port of Vung Tau in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, my impression was that he was really a man of the sea.

Indeed, after KN781 left the port, a thunderstorm suddenly hit the ship, making it swing like a hammock on the first night. I and some of the other guests on the ship became exhausted with seasickness, but for Hung, it was as if nothing had happened.

He continued to guide his crew in doing their duties on the ship, which was built by the Ha Long Shipbuilding Company in collaboration with the Damen Shipyard Group of the Netherlands.

Shortly after he received the ship, he organised training sessions to ensure that all officers and men were capable of running it with their assigned responsibilities.

As captain, Hung actively interacted with the Dutch partners to master the new technologies.

The ship's operation manual had several specifications and content in English, forcing Hung to spend several nights in translating them into Vietnamese as a "handbook" for all sailors to study.

He looked for experts and scientists in universities for help in understanding the technical nature of some of the difficult portions that required general knowledge.

Then he provided professional training his staff with the motto "good at our posts and know the job of others," so that everyone can foresee and solve common problems.

"To complete the task, I always focus on promoting the roles, capabilities and responsibilities of each staff member to actively improve management knowledge and exploit the technical features of the ship more efficiently," Hung said.

During that stormy journey on board the KN781 by the end of 2014, we understood the importance of the captain's role.

Captain Hung was not only the senior-most person responsible for ensuring the absolute safety of the ship, but he was also a pillar of solid moral support for all crew members.

He worked hard, shuttling between different places. Sometimes he was with the technical staff, examining the hot engine room, and sometimes in the cabin, trying to manage the situation with the other officers.

He also went to each room, encouraging and helping people with his cheerfulness and enthusiasm. So, in spite of the huge waves and gales, the ship overcame all challenges.

"If accidents happen on the sea, they can have unpredictable consequences. So, the safety of each voyage is the highest responsibility placed on the captain. While commanding the ship, especially in areas where several other ships are also sailing, we must always be alert and understand the intention and direction of the other vessels, particularly those travelling in the opposite direction," Hung said.

During his 14 years of experience as the captain of different ships, and having commanded more than 100 voyages on different waters of the country, Hung has proved his leadership skills and spirit, and is trusted by his crewmen.

Helping fishermen

Not only does he fulfill his duties, the captain also promptly organises search and rescue activities.

An unforgettable search-and-rescue incident at sea that Hung recalled occurred at the end of November 2013.

His ship had completed its task near Nam Yet Island in the Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago in Khanh Hoa Province.

Commander: Captain Ta Quang Hung (left) commanding the ship from the cabin. — VNS Photos Duy Hien

The voyage had been planned for 18 days, but due to certain necessary missions, it was extended to 60 days.

Hung encouraged his men to try to save food, water and gasoline.

They also caught seafood to ensure proper meals.

During that difficult time, they received an SOS signal from a fishing boat of Nguyen Duc Cuong that had met with an accident near Nam Yet Island. Hung promptly commanded the ship to travel 100 nautical miles to find and rescue Cuong's boat.

Hung's logbook has records of the timely rescue of 10 vessels with 70 fishermen in distress.

Continuing the tradition of his family that lives in the revolutionary homeland of Hung Nguyen District in the central province of Nghe An, Hung always strives to overcome difficulties to improve his competence and complete tasks. That's why he has received commendations for several years. He won the title of "Emulation Role Model" in 2010.

He also won the first prize and second prize in the "Good Marine Staff" and "Good Captain" contest of the Fisheries Resources Surveillance force, respectively.

After spending several days with the officers and staff of the ship KN781 on a rough sea, we firmly believe that with the bravery and experience of Cap Hung, the ship will accomplish its tasks, and be a solid support for fishermen in protecting the sovereignty of the sea and islands of the country. — VNS

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