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Five Vietnamese sailors among 13 missing in Japan

21:48 | 02/03/2020

Five Vietnamese sailors and eight other crew members onboard a Belize-flagged cargo ship are missing after the vessel collided with a fishing boat off Japan’s northeastern prefecture of Aomori late Saturday (Feb 29).

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Vessel Guo Xing 1, bearing the flag of Belize, sinks in waters 12km to the east of Tomari Port in Aomori, Japan. (Photo: vessels4sale.blogspot.com)

Guo Xing 1, the 1,989-ton cargo ship with 14 crew onboard, informed the Japanese about the incident after the collision at 10:17 pm local time Saturday about 12 km off the coast of Rokkasho.

The merchant ship flying the flag of Belize, quickly took on water and eventually sank, according to Japanese public television NHK.

The missing crew also included five Vietnamese and seven Chinese . Only one sailor, a 34-year-old Vietnamese national named Nguyen Van Hai from Hai Phong, survived after he was saved by another boat nearby, said First Secretary of the Vietnamese Embassy in Japan Nguyen An Tien.

The diplomat noted that Hai is in good condition and wishes to return home. The embassy has worked with Japanese authority to ensure his rights, he added.

Five missing Vietnamese sailors are Nguyen Van Thao, 30, from Nghe An; Ho Quang Tho, 40, from Binh Dinh; Nguyen Viet Khanh, 30, Nguyen Van Truong, 28, and Phan Hong Quan, 29, from Hai Phong.

The Japan Coast Guard has dispatched six aircraft, six patrol ships and dozens of rescuers to carry out rescue operations, Tien said, adding that the Vietnamese Embassy will continue updating on the incident and actively working with the Japanese authority to protect the citizens’ rights./.