SINGAPORE – An Indonesian-registered tanker and a Dominican-registered dredger have collided in Singapore territorial waters, about 1.7 nautical miles south-west of Sisters’ Island.
The dredger capsized and is still partially submerged. Twelve crew members – 11 Chinese nationals and one Malaysian – were on board. Seven of the Chinese nationals have been rescued and transferred to the Singapore General Hospital for medical treatment. The remaining five crew members remain unaccounted for.
The tanker was damaged, but its 26 Indonesian crew were unhurt.
The Singapore Vessel Traffic Information System provided navigational information to both vessels prior to the collision.
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 hopes that the authorities will 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 (Sept 13).
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. – The Straits Times