JOHOR BAHRU – A search-and-rescue team today found the body of a man floating in the sea off Johor where a Bolivian-registered barge sank on Wednesday and 14 crewmen went missing.
The team, led by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), found the body at 3.45 pm about 14 nautical miles from where the Ocean Line 208 had gone down, said Tanjung Sedili District MMEA operations director Commander (Maritime)Mustafa Kamal Abas.
He said the body, the nationality of which had yet to be verified, was detected by the crew of a passing ship, Kanata Spirit.
“The body will be handed over to the police,” he said in a statement here.
The area of search was extended today to a radius of 15 nautical miles from eight nautical miles following the sinking of the sand-laden barge 8.6 nautical miles east of Tanjung Punggai at 4.20 am on Wednesday while heading to Pengerang from Teluk Ramunia.
Fourteen crewmen, comprising 13 Chinese nationals and a Malaysian, were reported missing in the incident.
The search-and-rescue operation also focused on efforts to rescue any crew who could be trapped in the hull of the barge.
Mustafa said 18 divers from the Royal Malaysian Navy and Royal Malaysian Police had been deployed to conduct a search at the hull.
At 4 pm today, the divers were unable to access the area as the current was strong and there was a fuel spill, the head of the divers, naval officer Lt Mohammad Noor, told Bernama.
“Despite the situation, we managed to set up markers around the barge,” he said.
The search went on until 7 pm today and will continue at 7 am tomorrow. – BERNAMA