One of three South Vietnamese warships, damaged in the recent Sino-Vietnamese battle over the Paracel Archipelago, limped up the Saigon River on Tuesday (29 January) amid reports that the South Vietnamese government will soon launch a combined land and see operation to recover the Paracels.
GV warship coming into port (2 shots)
MV families and sailors looking on
GV sailor pulling rope
MV families waiting (2 shots)
CU woman looking on
GV sailors on board ship
CU young woman shouting
GV people get on board ship
MV sailor wilcomed by wife and son
MV and LV sailors being decorated (2 shots)
SHIP SAILING UP SAIGON RIVER: CROWDS AT QUAYSIDE: SHIP BEING MOORED: VARIOUS SHOTS OF FAMILIES AND SAILORS WAITING: VARIOUS SHOTS OF SAILORS BEING AWARDED MEDALS.
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Background: One of three South Vietnamese warships, damaged in the recent Sino-Vietnamese battle over the Paracel Archipelago, limped up the Saigon River on Tuesday (29 January) amid reports that the South Vietnamese government will soon launch a combined land and see operation to recover the Paracels.
The 28,000-ton vessel, the "Tran Ehanah Du, arrived in Saigon to a hero's welcome by a crowd of several thousand sailors and civilians. In an official ceremony, during which several crew-members were awarded medals, the Commander of the ship, Le huu Thu, said the Chinese had a total of four ships and two smaller vessels disguised as fishing-boats at the Paracels Islands during the two-day battle (19-20 January).
Both China and South Vietnam claim the Paracel Archipelago which is located more than 200 miles away from each country in the South China Sea. The short naval, ground and air battle earlier this month left about 200 South Vietnamese soldiers and sailors either killed or captured by China.
China announced on Tuesday (29 January) that 48 South Vietnamese and one American captured during the battle will be released through the Hong Kong-Chinese border in several batches. The first batch will arrive in Hong Kong on Thursday (31 January).
Meanwhile, pro-government newspapers in Saigon said that a force of marines and frogmen was heading for the Paracels in a bid to encircle the three islets of Duncan, Drummont and Robert. Several newspapers also noted that Phantom F-4 jets are based at Banong and could tackle China's MIG-21 fighter planes in aerial combat.