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2 dead, 3 missing after dredger collides with tanker in S’pore waters

SINGAPORE — Two men are dead and three are still missing, after their dredger capsized following an early Wednesday (Sept 13) morning collision with a tanker. This is the second such maritime accident in Singapore’s waters within a month.

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SINGAPORE — Two men are dead and three are still missing, after their dredger capsized following an early Wednesday (Sept 13) morning collision with a tanker. This is the second such maritime accident in Singapore’s waters within a month.

The accident happened at 12.40am, about 3.15km south-west of Sisters’ Islands in the Singapore Strait, and five crew members of 12 on the vessel went missing. By 4pm on Wednesday, divers had recovered two bodies, said the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

There were 11 Chinese nationals and one Malaysian on JBB De Rong 19, a Dominican-registered dredger. 

Seven crew members were rescued by the Singapore Police Coast Guard and taken to the Singapore General Hospital after the collision. 

Five of them have since been discharged. One crew member was admitted and is in stable condition, while the other is under observation.

Search-and-rescue efforts for the three remaining crew members are ongoing, said the authority.

Mr Andrew Tan, chief executive of MPA, said: “(We express) 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.”

JBB De Rong 19 was transiting the westbound lane in the waters, while an Indonesian tanker, Kartika Segara, was leaving Singapore and joining the eastbound lane when the accident happened.

The dredger capsized after the crash and was partially submerged until two tug boats moved it to an area near Pulau Senang for follow-up underwater search operations.

The MPA said the Singapore Vessel Traffic Information System had provided navigational information and warnings to both vessels to take preventive actions to avoid a collision. The vessels acknowledged the information provided but the collision “could not be averted”, it added.

The Indonesian tanker sustained damage to its starboard bow, but its 26 crew members were unharmed. 

Inter-agency teams were activated for the search-and-rescue operation, with about 200 personnel involved. 

A Super Puma helicopter from the Republic of Singapore Air Force began an aerial search at 7am, and two Chinooks, among others, were also deployed. 


(Click to enlarge) A map showing the area where the collision occured between the tanker and dredger. Source: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore

More than 20 vessels were mobilised — 15 from the MPA, Republic of Singapore Navy, Singapore Police Coast Guard and Singapore Civil Defence Force; and seven from marine services providers PSA Marine and Posh Semco.

The MPA said that it had notified the Indonesian Rescue Coordination Centre about the incident, and the centre sent five vessels to help with the operation in Indonesian territorial waters. It had also issued navigational broadcasts for ships to look out for the missing crew and to navigate with caution when in the vicinity of the collision area. 

There have been no reports of an oil spill or disruption to shipping traffic in the Singapore Strait, added the MPA, and investigations are ongoing. 

The latest collision comes after one on Aug 21, when United States warship USS John S McCain collided with a merchant vessel in Singapore territorial waters near Pedra Branca, killing 10 US Navy servicemen.

The warship was on its way to Singapore for a routine visit when it collided with the Alnic MC, a chemical and oil tanker about three times the size of the guided-missile destroyer.

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