China’s ‘Fujing 001’ ship had an accident at the sea, could not ask for help from the domestic rescue team, Hong Kong helicopters had to cross the border to rescue
Early in the morning of July 2, the crane ship Fujing 001, serving to construct China’s offshore wind farm project, had an accident at sea near Yangjiang city, Guangdong province. New information shows that the crew members asked the East Sea Rescue Department rescue ship and the nearby Chinese Navy for help, but no unit came to rescue. A few hours later, the ship Fujing 001 suddenly broke into two pieces and sank into the ocean. Before the ship sank completely, a rescue helicopter from Hong Kong managed to save three crew members.
According to Chinese media NetEase, on July 4, the recording of a nighttime call for help when the ship was in distress was revealed, showing the following details:
At 5:42 pm on July 2, Fujing 001 called for help from the nearby rescue ship “The South China Sea Rescue Department 113”. “You guys please try to come here for a bit. You are our only hope.” The Rescue Department replied; because the waves and wind were too strong, they would be unable to help.
At 6.30 pm, the Fujing 001 again called for help from the Chinese Navy: “Currently our ship is leaning 21 degrees, the ship is being flooded. We are in the offshore wind power construction area”. But the Navy replied that they could not reach the ship due to bad weather.
At 11.20 pm on July 2, the Fujing 001 signal disappeared from the ship’s automatic identification system.
According to NetEase, at 5:14 am on July 4, the guided-missile destroyer 162 of the Chinese Navy rescued a person in the outer search area. He was in good physical condition, had come from Fujing 001, and was transported ashore. In other words, the Chinese Navy and the South China Sea Rescue Department waited until the storm passed, and the ship Fujing 001 was in trouble for two days before a rescue was carried out.
According to RFI, just before the crane ship completely sank, the Hong Kong helicopter rescue team rescued the three remaining crew members on board; 27 members were missing.
More than 300 km from the accident site, the rescue helicopter sent by Hong Kong arrived at the scene at noon on July 2.
The video posted by netizens shows that when the Hong Kong rescue helicopter arrived at the scene, the crane ship Fujing 001 was broken into two parts. The aft section was wholly submerged; the stern was still above the water but slowly sinking. At the last minute, rescue forces were able to rescue three crew members.
According to a report by Sina.com, as of 3:30 pm on July 4, four people had been rescued out of 30 people on the ship, and rescue forces have found and pulled out 12 drowned victims. Search and rescue activities are still ongoing.
After this incident, mainland netizens posted on Weibo, questioning the Chinese Navy and the South China Sea Rescue Department:
Radio station Sound of Hope cited some of the netizens’ comments as follows:
“How should this news be understood? It means, around 5.30–11.30 pm, for nearly 6 hours, no one has taken rescue measures?”
“In six hours, a plane flew from Hong Kong and saved three people. It is said that the wind in Hong Kong is light so it can fly from there. But the storm is circular, in Hong Kong, the wind is lighter but in the radius of influence of the storm’s center, is it stronger in other places? And why only one plane was sent? Why is there no reliable media reporting details that the wind in Hong Kong is light enough to fly?”
Another said: “Why do they have to require Hong Kong to send planes across the border to rescue? Is this side (mainland) not even being equipped with the minimum sea rescue capability? This is really a big deal, more than 20 lives!”
Another said: “If a lifeboat is in trouble and can’t do anything, how can it be called a rescue ship? It’s useless.”
Some netizens questioned the preventive measures that authorities took on the crane ship Fujing 001 before the storm hit, saying:
“The news said that the ship was avoiding Typhoon Chaba at the storm shelter but the anchor chain was broken. After reading the news I was a bit unable to explain. Why was the storm shelter exactly at the storm’s path? They did not know the direction of the storm? And why didn’t the crew evacuate sooner?”
“The management grade is seriously negligent! After the meteorological observatory had issued a storm warning, all crew members must be evacuated.”