The Côn Đảo military-civil medical centre is treating the Chinese sailors involved in the suspected food poisoning case. 

12 sailors from a Chinese cargo ship off the coast of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu have died from what is thought to be food poisoning, a local health official has announced.

Nine more critical ill sailors were saved after being taken to hospital in the southern province of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu. 

The Wu Zhou 8 was en route from Thailand to China when all 21 crew on board suddenly fell ill from suspected food poisoning about 63 miles to the southeast of Côn Đảo Island, Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province. 

After receiving distress calls from the ship on the morning of September 30, the national rescue committee dispatched two helicopters to bring the victims to a hospital onshore.

When the rescue force arrived, ten sailors had already dead and 11 others were in critical condition. Another two sailors died on the way to a hospital on Côn Đảo island. 

Director of the Côn Đảo military-civil medical centre Lê Công Thọ said on October 1 that six patients had gained consciousness and could communicate, while two others are showing positive progress. One is still in a coma.

He added that the provincial health department had sent two more doctors and one nurse to Côn Đảo to help with treatment.

According to the Vũng Tàu-based coordinating centre for maritime rescue in region 3, rescue forces on a ship sent by the centre had reached the ship to preserve the bodies of the dead sailors.

According to a crew member, the food served on the ship was prepared by the chef.

At noon on September 29, the crew members on the ship had canned duck meat without any problems.

At 5:30 pm the same day, they had fish and vegetables together. Around 11 pm, some crew members vomited and had abdominal pain and recurring diarrhoea. — VNS