SINGAPORE: Divers recovered the bodies of two of the five crew members that were missing after a tanker and a boat collided, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said on Wednesday (Sep 13) afternoon.
Search and rescue efforts for the three remaining crew members are ongoing, MPA added in its update at 4pm local time.
The collision took place at about 12.40am on Wednesday, between Indonesian-registered tanker Kartika Segara and Dominican-registered dredger JBB De Rong 19 about 1.7 nautical miles south-west of Sisters' Islands.
The dredger capsized and is currently partially submerged. Of the 12 crew members – 11 Chinese nationals and a Malaysian – on board the dredger, seven were injured while five were unaccounted for. None of the tanker's 26 crew members was hurt.
The seven injured men were rescued by the Singapore Police Coast Guard and taken by ambulance to Singapore General Hospital at 2.45am. Five have since been discharged, a hospital spokesperson confirmed, adding that one remained admitted while the other was under observation.
The dredger had been 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, MPA said.
MPA said that Singapore’s Vessel Traffic Information System (VTIS) had provided "timely navigational information and warnings to both vessels to take preventive actions to avoid a collision".
"While the vessels acknowledged the information provided by the Singapore VTIS, the collision was not averted," MPA said.
The tanker reported damage to her starboard bow but is stable and anchored at the Eastern Anchorage, the agency said.
There was no disruption to shipping traffic in the Singapore Strait, MPA said, adding that there have been no reports of oil spills or disruption to shipping traffic in the Singapore Strait.
MPA is leading the search and rescue operations and the relevant Singapore agencies are assisting it, it said.
A Super Puma helicopter from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) began searching from the air at 7am.
Assets from the Singapore agencies now include two Super Puma, two Chinook and a Fokker 50 from the RSAF, as well as 15 vessels from MPA, the Republic of Singapore Navy, Singapore Police Coast Guard and Singapore Civil Defence Force; and seven vessels from PSA Marine and POSH SEMCO.
MPA said it has notified the Indonesian Rescue Coordination Centre about the incident and they have deployed five vessels to help with search and rescue efforts in Indonesian territorial waters.
Mr Andrew Tan, chief executive of MPA said: “MPA expresses our deepest condolences to the families of the two deceased and wish those injured a speedy recovery.
"We will continue with our search and rescue efforts to find the remaining three missing crew members,” he added.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday morning, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen noted that "another collision" has taken place in the Singapore Strait, and said he hoped that the missing seamen could be found.