Five crew members were reported missing after a tanker and a boat collided in Singapore waters at about 12:40 am, said the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA). Search and rescue operations are underway to find the missing seamen.
“On 13 September 2017, at about 12.40am (Singapore time), the MPA was notified of a collision between an Indonesian-registered tanker Kartika Segara and a Dominican-registered JBB De Rong dredger in Singapore territorial waters, about 1.7 nautical miles south-west of Sisters Island,” said the statement released by MPA.
Due to the collision, the dredger capsized and is currently partially submerged.
A total of 12 crew ─ 11 Chinese nationals and one Malaysian ─ were onboard the dredger at the time of incident. Seven of the Chinese nationals have been rescued by the Singapore Police Coast Guard (PCG) and transferred to the Singapore General Hospital by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) ambulances for medical treatment. Five crew remain unaccounted for. No one from the 26 Indonesian crew on board the tanker was injured.
Out of the seven admitted in the hospital, five have since been discharged, a hospital spokesperson confirmed, adding that one remained admitted while the other was under observation.
MPA is leading the Search and rescue (SAR) operations and relevant Singapore agencies are rendering all assistance. Two MPA tug boats have moved the partially submerged dredger safely to an area near Pulau Senang for follow up underwater search operations.
In addition to this, MPA has deployed three patrol craft to assist in the SAR operation and the Republic of Singapore Navy, SCDF and PCG have also deployed a total of seven vessels on scene to support the search and rescue operation.
A Super Puma helicopter from the Republic of Singapore Air Force began searching from the air at 7am, according to MPA.
Meanwhile, Ng Eng Hen, Defence Minister of Singapore has expressed concern on the collision. Writing a Facebook post, he reiterated that MPA was leading the search-and-rescue operations for the five crew members.
He hoped that the missing seamen can be located.
MPA said, “The dredger was transiting the westbound lane while the tanker was departing Singapore joining the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme in the Singapore Strait when the incident occurred. The Singapore Vessel Traffic Information System had provided navigational information to both vessels prior the collision.
There is no disruption to shipping traffic in the Singapore Strait, the statement said.
This collision was not the only incident that occurred in recent times. Ten US sailors died after a collision between US Navy warship USS John S McCain and oil tanker Alnic MC in Singapore waters on August 21.