A fishing boat did what the Vietnamese coast guard claimed it could not because of rough seas: rescue a bunch of fishermen whose boat had been wrecked off the central coast, though three were missing by then.
On January 28 the boat was wrecked by huge waves 15 nautical miles off Binh Dinh province. Its captain, Ngo Nhat Lam, 28, immediately sent SOS signals.
The signals were received by local authorities and, luckily for them, by Lam’s elder brother, also a fisherman with his own boat.
Ngo Minh Chau said he had been 50 nautical miles away at the time but still managed to save all the fishermen except his brother and two others.
Meanwhile, the coast guard had dispatched its largest vessel, according to Colonel Nguyen Viet Chau, deputy head of the Binh Dinh province coast guard.
But it had run into “large waves and fierce winds” and been forced to return.
It was not until two-and-a-half hours after the accident that the National Committee for Search and Rescue contacted the Quy Nhon Port Authority for mounting a rescue.
The authority then dispatched a vessel which, according to director Bui Van Vuong, has a radar capable of scanning hundreds of nautical square miles.
It arrived in the area but saw no one it is not yet known if the fishermen had been rescued by then and sailed off to Hai Phong city in the north.
Ngo Minh Chau said his was an ordinary fishing boat but had been able to scour a radius of over 30 nautical miles.
The bereaved man asked indignantly: “Why did a high-powered vessel hurriedly return claiming ‘large waves’?”
The province’s Department of Fisheries only has a small boat to oversee fishing activities and its director, Tran Thi Thu Ha, said it could not be used for rescue purposes.