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Singapore helps to rescue over 300 suspected migrants from sinking boat off Vietnam

SINGAPORE — More than 300 people aboard a wooden vessel were rescued at sea on Monday (Nov 7) off the coast of Vietnam after their boat started sinking within Singapore’s maritime search and rescue region.  

A file photo of ships out at sea.

A file photo of ships out at sea.

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SINGAPORE — More than 300 people aboard a wooden vessel were rescued at sea on Monday (Nov 7) off the coast of Vietnam after their boat started sinking within Singapore’s maritime search and rescue region.  

International news agency AFP reported that the “suspected migrants” on the boat, including 20 children, were from Sri Lanka and were thought to have been headed to Canada.

In response to TODAY’s queries on Tuesday, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said that the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) here had received information at about 12.20pm on Monday from its counterpart in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo.

The information stated that a wooden vessel within Singapore's search and rescue region had reported that they were sinking.

Singapore’s maritime search and rescue region covers both the waters around the island of Singapore as well as over one million square kilometres of the South China Sea.

MRCC Singapore then immediately contacted the vessel and confirmed that it was in distress, MPA said.

The authority added that MRCC Singapore then coordinated with the MRCC in Vung Tau in southern Vietnam to request for nearby vessels to provide immediate assistance to the sinking boat and issued safety broadcasts to vessels in the area to be vigilant and to report any sightings.

The MRCC in Vietnam also deployed a surface vessel for assistance.

At about 4.20pm, a nearby commercial vessel responded to the request and provided assistance to the boat in distress.

“A total of 305 persons were rescued by the vessel. The vessel with the rescued persons has safely arrived at Vung Tau anchorage, Vietnam,” said MPA.

AFP reported that the Myanmar-flagged Lady 3 fishing vessel encountered difficulties around 250 nautical miles off Vung Tau on Vietnam's southern coast, according to Vietnam’s MRCC.

Sri Lanka has for months faced severe shortages of food, fuel and medicine, AFP reported, after running out of foreign exchange to import essential goods.

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MPA Sri Lanka migrants

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