Vietnam opens criminal case into ship collision that killed 9

By Phuoc Tuan   May 20, 2017 | 05:31 pm GMT+7
Vietnam opens criminal case into ship collision that killed 9
Rescuers during the search for people missing from the sunken ship in southern Vietnam in a file photo taken after the collision. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan

An official report suggests human negligence led to the fatal crash off the southern coast in March.

Police in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau have officially launched a criminal investigation into a collision in late March that sank a cargo ship and killed nine sailors.

The probe means the fatal collision between the Hai Thanh 26 and a tanker owned by state-run Petrolimex is not being treated simply as an accident.

Nine Hai Thanh crew members were killed after the ship, carrying clinker to the Mekong Delta, sank about 44 nautical miles from the beach town of Vung Tau.

The other vessel, Petrolimex 14, managed to rescue Hai Thanh's Captain Nguyen Viet Thang and his deck officer Hoang Tien Khoi after the incident, which took place in the early hours of March 28.

Police decided to open the criminal case after a report from the provincial maritime administration ruled out technical or weather factors. It has suggested that human negligence could have been the cause, which requires further investigation, police said.

The sunken 3,000-ton vessel hasn’t been recovered.

Petrolimex 14 is operated by Vietnam Tanker Joint Stock Company (VITACO), a subsidiary of Petrolimex, Vietnam’s largest fuel wholesaler.