A middle-aged captain has devoted a major chunk of his life to the rescue of Vietnamese fishermen and cemented their sense of security against the perils of working in the open sea. SAR 412, the flagship search and rescue team under the Da Nang Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC) in central Vietnam, is considered the “guardian angel” by local fishermen. Each of their rescue trips is a race against time to come to the rescue of those in distress, a struggle against rough seas and stormy weather, and also an ordeal with other looming menaces. Its captain over the past 10 years has been Phan Xuan Son, 57. On February 10, 2015, Captain Son and 21 crew members aboard the SAR 412 made a breathtaking rescue of a group of fishermen from the central province of Binh Dinh whose boat sank off Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago administered by the central Vietnamese city of Da Nang. Captain Son recalled that as soon as he received a rescue order at 3:30 pm on February 10, the SAR 412 headed straight to the sea off Hoang Sa where two fishing boats had sunk. The rescue ship reached the distressed fishermen in the…
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