All 17 seafarers have been rescued after their cargo vessel grounded and partially sank off the Philippines.

The 4,100-dwt Viet Hai Star (built 2007) issued a distress call on Tuesday in waters near Balabac, the Philippine Coast Guard said.

The Vietnamese crew members were evacuated with help from the Philippine National Police Maritime Group, the GMA website reported.

The Vietnam-flag vessel was travelling from Ho Chi Minh City with a 4,000-dwt rice cargo, bound for Cagayan de Oro in the Philippines.

The coastguard said the ship suffered water ingress from the starboard side of the bow that completely flooded the forward compartments.

The vessel then ran aground about 800 metres off Balabac port in the southwest Philippines.

The crew decided to abandon ship in the early hours of Wednesday.

They were said to be in a good condition when they reached shore.

Photos showed the Viet Hai Star partially submerged, with a heavy list to port.

The vessel was also carrying 29,000 litres of diesel fuel.

An oil sheen was detected at the site, and the Philstar website reported that oil spill booms were set up around the ship.

The vessel remained grounded on Friday.

“Initially the plan was to float the vessel from its position by removing water inside the ship. However, since it is high tide and because of bad weather conditions in the area, we could only see the bridge,” coastguard ensign Chrieson Gabayan said.

The vessel is owned by Viet Hai Co of Haiphong City.

The Viet Hai Star has no port state control detentions on its record.

At the last inspection at Zamboanga in the Philippines, in July, three deficiencies were found, related to access control to the ship, the condition of the steering gear and the cleanliness of the engine room.

The insurer is not known.