Bodies of three marine employees who died in China to be repatriated this week

SINGAPORE - The bodies of the three employees of Jurong Marine Services who died when the tug boat they were in capsized and sank in the Yangtze river, Jinjiang, China, are expected to be brought back to Singapore and Batam this week.

The trio were witnessing the sea trial of the tug boat when the accident happened, said Sembcorp Marine, the parent company of Jurong Marine Services.

Giving a recount of the tragic events, SembMarine said the subsidiary has a charter contract with a Singapore company, Harbour Maritime Services, to charter the tug boat.

The tug boat was commissioned to be constructed by Bengbu Shenzhou Machinery Co in China, by a company related to Harbour Maritime Services.

The employees, assistant manager Baginda Ali Bin Zainul Abidin, 53; chief engineer Aif Rifadi, 41 and operations executive Bernard Chung Wai Kian, 27; were deployed to witness the sea trial of the tug boat as part of the project monitoring.

Mr Baginda Ali and Mr Chung are Singaporeans while Mr Rifadi is Indonesian.

"In the ordinary course of events, if such a trial was successful, Harbour Maritime Services would take delivery from the shipyard and then deliver the tug boat to Singapore where Jurong Marine Services Pte Ltd will perform inspections before acceptance of the charter," said SembMarine.

The tugboat capsized during the trial on Jan 15 and 22 people died including the Jurong Marine Services employees who were on board.

Investigations by the Chinese maritime authorities are ongoing and Jurong Marine Services is monitoring the progress.

SembMarine said Jurong Marine Services will extend its fullest support and offer every form of assistance to the bereaved families.

A professional counsellor has also been engaged to offer counselling services to employees who may be affected by the incident, it added.