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12 sailors die on ship off Vietnam

Food poisoning suspected on Chinese-flagged cargo vessel sailing from Thailand

The Wu Zhou 8 was en route from Thailand to China when it sent distress calls to Vietnamese authorities.

Twelve Chinese sailors have died and nine others are critically ill after a suspected case of food poisoning on board their vessel near southern Con Dao island in Vietnam, a rescue official and state media said on Friday.

The Chinese-registered Wu Zhou 8 cargo vessel was on its way from Thailand to China when the 21 crew members fell ill, state media reported.

“We were told of 10 bodies on the vessel. All died because of food poisoning, we were told,” an official involved in the rescue effort told AFP from Ba Ria Vung Tau province.

The cause of death was yet to be confirmed, he added.

“We have sent our rescue ship, which is scheduled to reach the Chinese vessel late Friday night,” said the official, who declined to be named.

Eleven other sailors were brought to hospital in an aircraft hired by the vessel’s owner. Two died on the way, while nine are being cared for by Vietnamese medics on land.

State media said the Chinese vessel is now 63 nautical miles from Con Dao island.

The Wu Zhou 8 was built in 2013 with a carrying capacity of 76,005 deadweight tonnes. It left Thailand on Sept 28 for Lianyungang in China, according to data from the ship tracking website Mari

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