Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Identity of dead man found at sea near Tuas shipyard remains unknown: Coroner

SINGAPORE — While fishing overnight with some others near the Sembcorp Marine Tuas Boulevard Yard in July last year, Mr Kumareswaran Balachandaran spotted a decomposed body floating face up in the waters.

The body of a man was found near the Sembcorp Marine Tuas Boulevard Yard in the early hours of July 11, 2020.

The body of a man was found near the Sembcorp Marine Tuas Boulevard Yard in the early hours of July 11, 2020.

Follow us on Instagram and Tiktok, and join our Telegram channel for the latest updates.

SINGAPORE — While fishing overnight with some others near the Sembcorp Marine Tuas Boulevard Yard in July last year, Mr Kumareswaran Balachandaran spotted a decomposed body floating face up in the waters.

In the months since, efforts by Singapore’s authorities to identify the dead man, who had drowned, proved futile and there were no identification papers on his body.

As his identity remains unknown and the circumstances of his death are still unclear despite extensive police investigations, State Coroner Kamala Ponnampalam gave an open verdict on Wednesday (April 7).

In her written findings, she said that there was no basis to suspect foul play, based on the evidence presented during the coroner’s inquiry.

Mr Kumareswaran found the body at about 4.20am on July 11 last year, when his boat was about 300m from the shipyard. 

He spotted the body after aiming his torchlight into the sea.

He testified in the coroner’s court that he did not see other boats in the area and there were no other items floating nearby.

Officers from the Police Coast Guard then recovered the body.

The dead man was wearing a blue T-shirt, black Bermuda shorts and a black bangle around his left wrist. 

Forensic police officers could not obtain his fingerprints because the ridges on his fingers were no longer visible due to decomposition.

A forensic pathologist from the Health Sciences Authority said that his cause of death was consistent with drowning.

There was also evidence of maggot infestation and there were no marks indicating external injuries on his body.

His DNA profile was sent to officers from the International Criminal Police Organization, more commonly known as Interpol, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Jakarta, Indonesia. 

There was no match in the Malaysian database, while the Indonesia-based officers have yet to respond. The Indonesian Embassy in Singapore also said that it did not have information on the man’s possible identity.

In Singapore, the authorities confirmed that there were no missing-person reports lodged between July 1 and 11 last year about a man fitting the description.

While there had been an incident days before, where a man and two women — suspected to be illegal immigrants from Indonesia — had fallen overboard in Singapore’s territorial waters, State Coroner Kamala said it was “less likely” that the deceased was one of them.

This was because another male body had been found earlier.

“As the identity of the decomposed body remains unknown and the circumstances of the death despite extensive police investigations remain unclear, I am constrained to deliver an open verdict,” the coroner concluded.

Related topics

shipyard death coroner's inquiry coroner court drowning

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.