Vietnamese sailors reported missing two weeks after ship capsizes off South Korea

By Nguyen Hai, Duc Hung   March 20, 2018 | 04:53 pm PT
Vietnamese sailors reported missing two weeks after ship capsizes off South Korea
Le Thi Cuc, mother of a man still missing from a ship incident in South Korea two weeks ago, cries as she talks about him. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Hai
11 crew members were on board when it hit rough seas, and four bodies have already been recovered.

Two Vietnamese men have been reported missing two weeks after the South Korean fishing boat they were working on capsized in rough seas.

Their families were only recently informed of the incident by the labor company in Hanoi that recruited them.

Nguyen Tien Chung, 46, from the central province of Ha Tinh, and Nguyen Huu Long, 29, from the neighboring province of Nghe An, went missing after their ship with 11 crew members sank on March 6, the company said.

Three crew members have been rescued but the bodies of four other men have also been recovered, it said. Korean authorities have sent 30 military and coastguard ships and four helicopters to look for the remaining four, and dozens of local boats have also joined the search, it said.

Long, who accepted the job three years ago, married a local woman during a visit home in July 2016, and his wife is expecting their first child.

"We are very worried about her," said Le Thi Cuc, Long's mother.

Chung also applied for a job in South Korea three years ago to work as a fisherman. He borrowed VND400 million ($17,600) for the recruitment and travel procedures, and the job paid him more than $1,000 a month. Vietnam's average annual income reached $2,380 last year, although Nghe An and Ha Tinh are among the poorest parts of the country.

“My husband went overseas because our family was struggling for money. We did not expect this to happen,” said his wife, who cares for their four children.

Since receiving the news, she has spent most of her time crying in bed.

The families are hoping search and rescue workers will continue to look for the men’s bodies, and also expect insurance payouts.

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