Ship en route to Philippines saves man at sea

By Viet Quoc, An Minh   June 20, 2023 | 12:49 am PT
Ship en route to Philippines saves man at sea
The Oriental Star vessel is about to reach Phu Quy Island to hand over a man found floating at sea. Photo by VnExpress/Trung Thanh
A fisherman stranded at sea for eight hours was saved by a vessel traveling from HCMC to the Philippines, which changed course to save the victim.

The Oriental Star was delivering goods when its 15-member crew saw a person bobbing along with the waves while the vessel was about 48 km from Phu Quy Island in central Binh Thuan Province on Sunday.

Le Van An, the ship’s captain, decided to turn around to rescue the person. As the vessel was heavy, it took a few minutes of maneuvering to prevent it from capsizing. But when the ship reached the destination, there was no one there.

He figured the person must have been swept away by the water, so he decided to search for the victim, even though it was getting dark.

As the Oriental Star drifted with the currents, lights shining on the water surface, it took the crew over two hours to find the victim, who had been swept about five nautical miles away from the original position.

"We released the buoys and sent sailors down to bring the victim on board. Everyone was happy to see the fisherman still alive," An said.

Le Van Hung (in green shirt) is rescued and brougyht to Phu Quy Island after falling off a fishing vessel and floating at sea. Photo by VnExpress/Trung Thanh

Le Van Hung (L) was rescued and brought to Phu Quy Island after falling off a fishing vessel and floating at sea. Photo by VnExpress/Trung Thanh

Hung was a fisherman on a vessel from Phu Yen, which set sail earlier this month with 16 people on board. On Sunday, as the ship was travelling towards Phu Quy Island, Hung slipped and fell into the sea.

"I tried to scream for help, but everyone was asleep and the engine was too loud, so no-one heard me," he said, adding that he let himself flow with the currents as there was nothing to hold on to.

Hung’s crew members found that he was missing when they were around 10 nautical miles from Phu Quy Island, so they turned the ship around and asked nearby vessels for assistance. When island border guards informed them that Hung had been found, they rushed to the island to welcome him.

The same day, the Song Doc border guard forces of Ca Mau’s Tran Van Thoi District also rescued a person who had been floating at sea for three days. The victim, named Minh, from Hau Giang, said he was tricked into boarding a Kien Giang fishing vessel to work.

He said he was frequently threatened on the ship, so he prepared plastic containers as a flotation device and looked for an opportunity to escape.

"I jumped into the sea and floated around aimlessly. I was hungry and thirsty, and had to drink seawater until I was rescued," he said.

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