Rough seas strand thousands on southern Vietnam island

By Phuc Hung   July 17, 2018 | 05:14 pm PT
Ships have been ordered not to set sail as the third storm of the year approaches Vietnam, leaving thousands stranded on picturesque Phu Quoc Island.

Storm Son Tinh has triggered high waves and strong winds, prompting the Port Authority of the southern province of Kien Giang issue a no-sail order on Tuesday.

Ships operating on the Phu Quoc – Rach Gia and Ha Tien – Phu Quoc routes have already suspended operations.

A beach in Phu Quoc Island in the far south of Vietnam.

A beach in Phu Quoc Island in the far south of Vietnam.

Son Tinh has caused widespread rain, beginning on Monday night, flooding several roads on the island.

“I’ve brought my wife and children to Phu Quoc Island for a holiday and we were supposed to go back to the mainland this morning, but we weren’t able to,” said To Van Tinh, a resident of Ca Mau Province at the nation’s southernmost tip.

Cruise operators have said they would refund everyone who’ve purchased tickets and operating schedules will be announced once the weather gets better.

As of 7 a.m. on Tuesday, the center of Son Tinh was about 250 kilometers (155 miles) northwest of the Philippines with maximum speeds of up to 75 kilometers per hour, according to the Vietnam National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.

It was moving in a northwesterly direction with winds of 75 kilometers per hour and is forecast to be around 350 kilometers off the coast of Hai Phong City on Wednesday morning.

In the next 48 hours, the storm is projected to keep heading west, which means that it could sweep northern and coastal central provinces before weakening into a tropical depression again.

Vietnam was struck by a record-breaking number of 16 tropical storms in 2017 that left 389 people dead or missing and injured 668 others, mostly in northern and central regions. The General Statistics Office estimated damage at around VND60 trillion ($2.64 billion), 1.5 times the previous year’s figure.

Damrey, one of the most destructive storms last year, hit the country in November and killed at least 106 people.

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