Search area for missing crew members widened

A partially submerged capsized dredger is seen in an area near Pulau Senang off Singapore on Sept 14, 2017.
A partially submerged capsized dredger is seen in an area near Pulau Senang off Singapore on Sept 14, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

Efforts to locate and rescue the three missing crew members of a dredger that collided with a tanker in Singapore waters were continuing last night, said the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) yesterday.

Two sailors died in the accident between the Dominican-registered JBB De Rong 19 and the Indonesian-registered tanker Kartika Segara, which occurred at 12.40am on Wednesday about 1.7 nautical miles south-west of Sisters' Islands, in the Singapore Strait.

Two other members of the crew of 12 were taken to hospital. One has been discharged, while the other remained under observation at the Singapore General Hospital.

The multi-agency search and rescue operation was led by the MPA and included the Republic of Singapore Air Force, the Republic of Singapore Navy, Singapore Police Coast Guard and Singapore Civil Defence Force, PSA Marine and offshore marine service provider Posh Semco.

MPA said yesterday it was widening the search area and had increased the number of vessels in the operation from 22 on Wednesday to 29 yesterday. Five aircraft have also been involved in the aerial search.

The Indonesian Rescue Coordination Centre is working with the Singapore authorities to assist operations with an additional 10 vessels in Indonesian territorial waters.

The 12 crew members on board the capsized dredger comprised 11 Chinese nationals and a Malaysian. One of the casualties was Chinese and the other, Malaysian.

The 26 Indonesian crew members on board tanker Kartika Segara were unscathed. The ship's right front section, however, was visibly damaged.

Mr Sitoh Yih Pin, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport, said: "My heartfelt and deepest condolences go to the families of the crew members who died as a result of the collision.

"I also hope that search and rescue efforts will succeed in finding the crew members still missing."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 15, 2017, with the headline 'Search area for missing crew members widened'. Print Edition | Subscribe