Vietnam troops clean oil stained beaches: officials

Vietnam troops clean oil stained beaches: officials

( AFP )- Thousands of Vietnamese troops Sunday helped clean oil off southern beaches as rescue workers sought to contain a spill from a capsized tanker and recover the bodies of nine more sailors, officials said.

One survivor and the bodies of five crew have been recovered since the Duc Tri, carrying 1,700 tonnes of crude oil, overturned in rough seas a week earlier, drifting off the coast near the resorts of Mui Ne and Vung Tau .

While authorities said the ship's 10 oil tanks were believed intact, oil had seeped from the vessel's engine system and blackened beaches along the southern coast, with rough seas hampering recovery and salvage operations.

"We have mobilized around 2,000 soldiers to cooperate with local people to collect clumps of congealed oil along the coast," said Colonel Le Minh Quang , head of the military command in Ba Ria Vung Tau province.

Quang said the troops had helped clean oil from the Bai Sau beach of Vung Tau , a popular South China Sea resort southeast of Ho Chi Minh City, and a base for Vietnam's offshore oil industry.

The colonel said that one more body had been found floating at sea -- taking the total discovered to five -- and told AFP that as of early Sunday "nine bodies remain inside the shipwreck."

The Vietnamese government's oil spill response agency meanwhile reported that large quantities of oil had stopped leaking from the tanker, which rescue ships last week encircled with a floating oil barrier.

"Oil stopped leaking out this morning," said Nguyen Quang Hung, who heads the agency's operations at the site.

"We have more than 10 divers down there at the moment. From their observations, all the oil tanks remain intact, and all the oil that has spilled out came from the engine.

"We are on standby, ready to cope with any oil leaks that may happen during the body recovery operation."

He added: "This morning divers were dispatched again, but the waves got higher around noon and they came back without finding anything."

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