By Kathryn Stone 2015-05-20 15:01:50
Fourteen crew members are still missing from a barge that capsized early Wednesday morning in Singaporean waters.
The incident took place at roughly 4:00am approximately 7.5 nautical miles north-east of Pedra Branca, Singapore aboard the Bolivian-registered Oceanline SC2018. It is believed that the crew of the vessel was asleep when the incident occurred and may have subsequently gotten trapped underneath the barge’s overturned hull.
The vessel’s chief engineer, Li Guozheng from China was rescued by Malaysian authorities and is the only member of the 15 person crew to be recovered. The rest of the seaman, consisting of 13 Chinese nationals as well as one Malaysian, are still missing.
Commander Kamal Abas of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency told local news agencies that it is possible the vessel encountered waves as high as 2.5 meters (8.2 feet), which could have caused it to capsize under its heavy sand load. The barge was reportedly carrying cargo between the Malysian cities of Teluk Ramunia and Pengerang when it sunk.
The Maritime Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) released statement this morning regarding the response effort saying, “Singapore is coordinating the search and rescue (SAR) operations which involves vessels from the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSS Daring and RSS Fearless), the Singapore Police Coast Guard and several Malaysian vessels. MPA has also engaged salvage companies to conduct salvage operations.”
Search operations today were hampered by rough seas. However, the MMEA said that rescue patrols continued searching until 7:30pm and will resume Thursday morning at 6:00am.