Vietnam asks shipping firms to protect Vietnamese sailors amid Red Sea tension

By Vu Anh   March 14, 2024 | 05:57 am PT
Vietnam asks shipping firms to protect Vietnamese sailors amid Red Sea tension
The True Confidence is spotted in Italy, March 2022. Photo by Reuters
Vietnam has asked shipping companies to abide by international warnings and ensure the safety of Vietnamese crew members amid tensions in the Red Sea.

Vietnamese authorities have met with representatives from international shipping companies that employ Vietnamese workers to encourage them to boost safety measures to protect sailors, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pham Thu Hang said at a press conference Thursday.

The foreign firms were also asked to step up efforts to abide by international warnings regarding dangerous or risky itineraries, especially those that include routes through the Red Sea, a region currently torn by conflict in which international vessels are now vulnerable and prone to attack by non-state actors, Hang said.

She was responding to an inquiry regarding the death of 41-year-old Vietnamese maritime worker Dang Duy Kien, who was killed by a missile strike launched by Houthi forces on the bulk carrier True Confidence in the Gulf of Aden on March 6. The inquiry was also related to other escalating geo-political tensions around the Red Sea region and its environs.

Vietnam is cooperating with local authorities, the company who sent Kien on the trip, and his family, to advance procedures to bring Kien’s body back to Vietnam. The government has also tasked agencies to carry out measures to bring the True Confidence’s three other surviving Vietnamese crew members back home.

"The ministry has directed Vietnamese diplomatic missions in areas of conflicts to continue to keep a close watch and provide all sides security updates, and to proactively warn citizens and vessels operating in the area to stand ready for citizen protection measures," Hang said.

The True Confidence was carrying 20 crew members at the time of the incident, including four Vietnamese. Chief officer Kien, from Hai Phong, died due to the missile strike. His three Vietnamese colleagues on the ship survived the attack.

The missile strike was the first fatal one by Houthi forces since they began targeting international shipping going through the Red Sea. Their stated aim has been to carry out the attacks until Israel suspends its deadly military bombing campaign against Gaza in Palestine.

Following the Gulf of Aden attack, several international shipping firms have suspended voyages through the Red Sea, switching courses to the Cape of Good Hope in Africa.

On March 7, Vietnam said it strongly condemns violent and inhumane attacks on innocent people and civil vehicles in international waters.

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