SINGAPORE - More than 12 hours after two ships collided in Singapore waters, three crew members remain missing, while two are dead.
The accident, involving a Dominican-registered dredger and Indonesian-registered tanker, happened in the early hours of Wednesday (Sept 13), about 1.7 nautical miles south-west of Sisters' Island.
The dredger, which had 12 crew members on board, capsized. Its crew consisted of 11 Chinese nationals and one Malaysian.
Seven of the Chinese nationals were rescued and transferred to the Singapore General Hospital for treatment. As of Wednesday afternoon, at least two of the seven remained in hospital. Two bodies were found and three crew members are still missing.
When The Straits Times arrived at the capsized ship on Wednesday afternoon, boats from the authorities were patrolling the area. A boat carrying divers had pulled up next to the dredger.
The 26 Indonesian crew on the tanker were unscathed. However, the ship's right front section was visibly damaged.
The Dominican-registered dredger, the JBB De Rong, is manged by Malaysian company LK Global Shipping, according to www.dredgepoint.org. A representative for LK Global Shipping was at Singapore General Hospital but declined comment when approached.
Representatives from the Embassy of China in Singapore were at the Singapore General Hospital to visit the survivors. Consul-General Wang Jiarong expressed his concern for the missing crew members and hoped that the authorities would do their best in the search and rescue operations.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said that it was alerted to the incident at around 12.40am on Wednesday.
It said that the dredger was transiting in the westbound lane, while the tanker was leaving Singapore to join the eastbound lane in the Singapore Strait.
The MPA is leading the search and rescue operations for the missing people. Two tug boats have moved the dredger to an area near Pulau Senang for underwater search operations.
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on Wednesday morning said the Republic of Singapore Navy Patrol Vessel RSS Fearless, the Republic of Singapore Air Force Super Puma Rescue 10 and Chinook, Police Coast Guard and Singapore Civil Defence Force craft have been deployed to assist in search and rescue operations.
Patrol boats and a helicopter have also been deployed. Ships have been told to be on the lookout for the missing crew members, and to navigate with caution near the accident site.
There is no disruption to shipping traffic in the Singapore Strait.
The latest incident comes just after a United States warship, the USS John S. McCain, collided with an oil tanker, Alnic MC, in Singapore waters off Pedra Branca on Aug 21. Ten US sailors were killed and five others were injured in that incident.