BEIJING, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- China rescued ten crew members of an abandoned Sierra Leone freighter in the South China Sea on Tuesday, Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday.
All the crew members now have regular vital signs, Zhao told a daily news briefing.
On Monday, the freighter "DONG YANG" was in distress near the Nansha Islands, and all ten crew members escaped in a life raft after the captain decided to abandon the ship.
The maritime search and rescue center of Hainan Province received the emergency report at 5 p.m. on Monday. After confirming the danger, China's Ministry of Transport and authorities in Hainan Province dispatched three ships for search and rescue, one of which successfully rescued all ten crew members at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, according to Zhao.
"This is a successful international rescue after hard work over a day and night," Zhao said. He added that the successful rescue was also a test of China's ability to safeguard the navigation of international ships in the South China Sea.
"Maritime life rescue is an international humanitarian operation. This successful rescue demonstrates China's commitment to saving lives in the South China Sea. China will continue to provide timely and necessary search-and-rescue operations for vessels and crew members in distress in the South China Sea in a humanitarian spirit," said Zhao.