Sinking ship leaking oil off of Vietnam's coast

Other News Materials 30 November 2008 15:37 (UTC +04:00)

A cargo ship that ran aground off the coast of central Vietnam, has caught fire and is now leaking oil, a military official said Sunday, dpa reported.

"The ship burst into flames and then broke apart," said Lieutenant Colonel Le Van Khuong head of the border station at Quy Nhon in the province of Binh Dinh.

"Due to bad weather and strong waves we could not get access to the ship when it was on fire. The upper section of the ship was totally destroyed."

The accident happened as the Golden Star was attempting to dock at the port of Quy Nhon on Thursday to take on more cargo.

The Panamanian-registered ship crashed into the rocks as it was being battered by high winds and waves. Soldiers and local fishermen rescued all 23 crew members.

According to state-run news reports, the Golden Star was carrying 100 tons of oil, which is now leaking into the South China Sea. High winds are making it difficult to contain the spill.

"Some oil has spilled into the sea but there is no official calculation of how much," said Khuong. "Now we are working with the ship crew and relevant agencies to figure out what to do next."

This is the third oil spill in less than a week in Vietnam. The southeast Asia nation has one of the longest coastlines in the world but is poorly equipped to deal with maritime disasters.