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Tropical storm alerts sent to 24,000 vessels

HANOI, July 29 — More than 24,000 offshore vessels from northern Quang Ninh to central Quang Ngai provinces are being kept informed on the progress of tropical storm Nock-ten, which is likely to hit Vietnam this weekend.

Reports from the National Flood and Storm Steering Committee and border soldiers in coastal areas also show that thousands have already moved to safe zones.

At present, there are a total of 221 vessels still operating around the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) islands. They will be guided to shelter if necessary.

All 11 crew members of a fishing vessel from Quang Ngai Province, which sank in rough sea near Truong Sa Archipelago on Wednesday, were rescued by a ship from the Philippines yesterday.

According to the National Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting Centre, tropical storm Nock-ten will be about 290km north-east of the Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands today.

The eye of the storm is expected to reach the northeast coast of China's Hainan Island tomorrow and continue moving west-north-west at a speed of 15kph with wind gusts of between 103 and 133kph.

Le Thanh Hai, deputy director of the forecasting centre, said that if the storm did not change direction, it would bring heavy rain to northern and central provinces from Thanh Hoa to Thua Thien-Hue during the weekend.

The Flood and Storm Steering Committee has ordered authorities from northern Thai Binh to central Quang Ngai provinces to re-examine and consolidate dyke systems.

Bui Thi Doan Dung, a representative from central Nghe An Flood and Storm Steering Committee, said the centre had sent a group to check measures to avoid flash floods in mountainous Ky Son, Tuong Duong and Con Cuong districts. (PNA/VNS) scs/ebp

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