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All crew on sunken Vietnamese freighter rescued
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All 10 crew members aboard a Vietnamese freighter that sank in the South China Sea off Hainan Province on Tuesday were rescued by a passing vessel early on Wednesday in a coordinated rescue effort by Chinese and Vietnamese maritime authorities.

The Hainan Maritime Safety Bureau confirmed that the crew members were rescued by a Vietnam-registered trader NAHICO, which was passing near the accident area.

The bureau said it received an emergency signal from the Vietnamese maritime rescue authority at 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday, which indicated that the freighter HUE09 was in danger of sinking about 40 nautical miles off Dongfang City, Hainan Island.

The bureau immediately asked a vessel at a nearby drilling platform to go to the site, and requested vessels in the sea area to assist.

The freighter carrying 400 tons of coal was from Quang Ninh Province of Vietnam. The cause of the sinking was not immediately available. However, the Hainan Meteorological Observatory issued a tropical depression warning at 5 p.m. on Tuesday in the water near Dongfang, saying the wind speed was up to 57.6 km per hour.

The observatory said the eye of the tropical depression was moving west-northwestward at 10 km per hour on Tuesday afternoon and was expected to hit land in Vietnam early on Wednesday.

(Xinhua News Agency October 15, 2008)

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