The Vietnamese fishing boat that saved the 22 Filipinos of a fishing boat in Reed Bank in Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago has been identified.
A news report on local news website Vnexpress said that on June 18, the owner of a Tien Giang Province-registered fishing vessel, Ngo Van Theng, a 54-year-old resident of Tien Giang’s Go Cong town, had confirmed it was his boat that rescued the Filipinos.
Theng said he had contacted Captain Nguyen Thanh Tam of the boat via the HF radio system.
Captain Nguyen Thanh Tam said that about 1:00 a.m. on June 10, while his vessel was at anchor in the waters off Vietnam’s Truong Sa islands, he and his crew members were awakened by the voices of foreigners. Turning on the flashlight, the captain discovered that two small boats without lights were on the side of his vessel. There were two foreign men using hand signals as if they were asking for urgent help.
At first, the captain said, he feared that they might be pirates but later found them both soaking wet and shivering and thought they might have had an accident at sea. The foreign men continued using hand signals to request help and pointed towards Reed Bank.
Captain Tam quickly let his boat set sail for Reed Bank, about 5 nautical miles away. Due to poor visibility, it took his boat about an hour to get there.
The Vietnamese boat found 20 Filipino fishermen wearing life jackets and clinging to plastic barrels and pieces of wood from the shipwreck. The victims were found to be hungry and quivering. They were picked up by the 10 Tien Giang fishermen, and given rice, instant noodles and warm materials.
The Filipino fishermen said their boat was hit by another ship.
At about 5 am, the Tien Giang fishing vessel returned to the original site to pull up the net. The Filipino fishermen borrowed a radio handset from the Vietnamese boat to contact a Filipino fishing vessel for help. At 2 pm the same day, a Filipino boat came to pick up the 22 victims. SGT
Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines Teodoro Locsin expressed thanks to Vietnam for saving 22 crewmembers in the East Sea during a recent ceremony marking the 25th anniversary of the UNCLOS in New York.