Floating ghost ship found by Vietnamese fishermen

By Hoang Truong   November 16, 2016 | 08:53 pm PT
Vietnamese anglers have towed in a mysterious ship after discovering it abandoned off the south-central coast.

Yesterday's discovery of an abandoned foreign steel-hull vessel has again raised alarms over safety in the South China Sea, which Vietnam calls the East Sea, coming, as it did, on the heels of last week's hijacking.

Vietnamese fishing vessels BTH-97859TS and BTH-97947 spotted the ship's lights drifting 157 nautical miles off the coast of La Gi Town, according to the Binh Thuan Province Maritime Administration.

Vietnamese fishermen noted Chinese characters on the stern and on bow of the 50-meter ship before boarding it.


A Vietnamese fishing vessel towed the ghost ship toward the Vietnamese coast after discovering it abandoned. Photo by VnExpress/Thai Ha

An official at the provincial maritime administration said that the vessel has a foreign identification number, but its nationality remains unclear due to the lack of a flag. The grey and white vessel was believed to have been abandoned some days ago.

Local fishermen towed the ship to La Gi and anchored it two miles off the coast for fear of possible contamination.

On November 12, Vietnam issued a safety warning to vessels traveling through the region after a Vietnamese ship was hijacked off the coast of the Philippines with six crew members aboard.

Following the incident, vessels in the region were urged to exercise extra vigilance or reroute from the area if possible.

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