The Vietnamese pay their respects in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Photo: Google Maps

A 59-year-old Vietnamese-American businessman visited Kaohsiung in Taiwan for the second time on Monday to express his deep gratitude to a boat captain and his crew members who saved him along with 27 others from a storm at sea 40 years ago.

On July 9, 1978, Thai-Nguyen Dang, who was then 19, was with his elder brother and 27 university students on a boat attempting to escape their country due to the Vietnam War, The Liberty Times reported.

The Kaohsiung-registered fishing vessels Okawa 1 and Okawa 2 took Dang and the others on board and kept them safe during a big storm in the South China Sea.

In April this year, Dang visited Kaohsiung for the first time in the last four decades, searching for the Okawa 1’s captain Sung Chin-an and his crew members, who provided them with food and accommodation for four days so they could go on to Singapore. They later migrated to the United States.

With help from the media, Huang Tsung-shun, the then radio officer on the Okawa 1, was contacted by the Kaohsiung City government and met Dang. However, Sung the captain had passed away nine years ago, Dang learned.

On Monday, Dang and his family visited the grave of Sung, and had a meal with Sung’s wife and children, as well as with the crew members.