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Nhat Thuan Ship explodes, sinks in Vung Tau sea
By Van Nam - The Saigon Times Daily
Thursday,  Jun 18, 2009,21:54 (GMT+7)

Nhat Thuan Ship explodes, sinks in Vung Tau sea

By Van Nam - The Saigon Times Daily

HCMC – A large oil-tanker burst into flames, exploded and then sank in minutes while anchored five miles from Vung Tau Cape early yesterday morning, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment reported yesterday.

The Nhat Thuan was carrying 10,000 liters of diesel oil and nearly 1,800 cubic meters of waste oil it took from Chi Vị trí đặt quảng cáoLinh Tanker of Vietsovpetro, said Nguyen Van Nghiep, deputy director the department.

Nghiep reported to the provincial government yesterday that three sailors were missing while 12 others were rescued by the Vung Tau Port Authority.

Nghiep said that within five hours of the explosion, Vietsovpetro had discovered an oil-slick on the sea surrounding the sunken ship.

“It is likely to have oil spreading on a large scale because all of the waste oil sinking together with the ship is not collected,” he said in the report.

Nhat Thuan ship, which belongs to Binh Thuan Transport Company Limited of HCMC’s District 7, burst into flames suddenly while 12 of its crewmembers were wearing life-jackets. They jumped into the sea to safety while three others who were weighing anchor were reported missing.

The environment department yesterday afternoon mobilized forces and assigned Vietsovpetro to send more rescue boats to the spot to contain the oil spill.

Late yesterday afternoon, vice chairman of the provincial government Tran Ngoc Thoi sent an urgent dispatch asking leaders of Xuyen Moc, Long Dien and Dat Do districts and Vung Tau City to mobilize more forces, including military forces, to cope with the oil spill.

Thoi asked all the villages of coastal districts to be prepared to clean the beaches.

Tran Minh Sanh, chairman of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, said last night that rescue forces were still searching for the three lost sailors. He added the worst to the environment had not occurred, referring to the fearful oil spill.
“It’s lucky that the ship did not explode again under water. However, I have just steered Vietsovpetro, Vung Tau Port Authority and other rescue companies to send more boats to the scene and use floats to surround the sunken ship to control the oil slick,” Sanh told the Daily last night.

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