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Sole survivor of sunken ship found alive after five days adrift at sea

Update: December, 31/2011 - 08:44

HA NOI — A crew member from the missing Vinalines Queen ship has been found alive after five days adrift in a life boat, the Viet Nam Maritime Search and Rescue Co-ordination Centre has said.

According to the centre, the 31-year-old crew member, Dau Ngoc Hung, was found and rescued yesterday by the M/V ‘London Courage' ship from England while en route to Singapore.

The centre's director, Nguyen Anh Vu, said Hung was the only surviving member of the Vinalines Queen, Viet Nam's second biggest and most modern vessel.

Hung, who is currently in good health on board the ‘London Courage', said via satellite telephone with the centre that the Vinalines Queen sank after tilting to the side at 7am on December 25 where sea depth reached 5km.

Hung said he was the only one able to get to a life buoy.

"It was too windy and the ship leaned very fast. As soon as I found a torch, I opened the door and got out," he said.

Vu added: "Hung had drifted some 350km before being rescued."

The English ship that found the drifting sailor was scheduled to dock at Singapore's port on January 4.

The rescue centre has reported the case to rescue teams from the Philippines, Japan and Taiwan and several other countries and asked them to help search for the missing ship.

Last Sunday, while transporting 54,000 tonnes of nikel from Indonesia to China within the territory of Philippines, the Vinalines Queen went missing off Luzon Island. The ship had a crew of 23 people.

After searching for a week, rescue teams from Viet Nam, Philippines, Japan and Taiwan have failed to locate the missing vessel, and the reason for its sinking remains unknown.

In late 2010, three ships carrying nikel were also reported missing in waters northeast of the Philippines. — VNS

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