December 17, 2015 / 5:16 AM / 4 years ago

Singapore Strait collision sinks freighter; six crew still missing

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Six crew members are still missing after a general cargo freighter sank in the Singapore Strait following a collision with a chemical tanker at 8:14 p.m. (7.14 a.m. ET) on Dec. 16.

An Indonesia rescue team approaches the sunken Antigua and Barbuda flagged freighter MV Thorco Cloud which sank after colliding with a tanker the night before, in the Singapore Strait off the Indonesian island of Batam December 17, 2015 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. REUTERS/M N Kanwa/Antara Foto

The 10,385 deadweight tonne (dwt) cargo freighter Thorco Cloud, operated by Danish shipper Thorco Shipping and registered in Antigua and Barbuda, had a crew of 12.

Singapore’s Police Coast Guard, supported by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), rescued five of the crew members, while the chemical tanker picked up a sixth, the MPA said. The rescued seamen were sent to Singapore General Hospital for observation, it said.

Search and rescue operations continued for the six missing crew members, said an MPA spokesman in an update.

To ensure shipping safety, the MPA deployed a buoy tender and a hydrographic survey vessel to cordon off the area. So far there have been no shipping disruptions, the spokesman said.

The incident, which took place in Indonesian waters six nautical miles northwest of Batam, left the Cayman Islands-registered chemical tanker Stolt Commitment with minor damage and in stable condition, said the MPA.

The 37,438 dwt tanker is owned by Stolt Tankers, part of Norwegian bulk liquid transportation and storage company Stolt-Nielsen Ltd.

Indonesian authorities have also commenced search and rescue operations and Singapore is ready to render assistance if required, the MPA said.

The sunken cargo freighter was carrying 560 metric tonnes of bunker fuel.

“While there are currently no reports of any oil spill, MPA has also put on standby anti-pollution craft,” the spokesman said.

The Singapore Strait, one of the world’s busiest commercial shipping routes, is a 105-km long, 16-km wide passage between the Strait of Malacca to the South China Sea.

Editing by Tom Hogue

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