This handout photograph taken and released on Sept 13, 2017 by Singapore's Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) shows tug boats moving a capsized dredger to an area near Pulau Senang off Singapore, as a search operation for five missing crew members continue. (HANDOUT / MARITIME AND PORT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE / AFP)
SINGAPORE – The Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore announced Wednesday evening that divers have recovered two bodies of missing crew members from a dredger which had collided earlier in the day with a tanker in Singaporean waters.
In its statement, the MPA did not mention the nationalities of the two persons. But an official with the Chinese Embassy in Singapore confirmed that one of them was Chinese. The official identified the other dead victim as a Malaysian citizen.
Three Chinese nationals were missing till Wednesday evening.
The Dominican-registered dredger, identified as the JBB DE RONG 19, had 11 Chinese crew members and one Malaysian onboard when the collision occurred at about 12:40 am Wednesday (1640 GMT Tuesday).
The sand dredger was transiting the westbound lane while the Indonesian-registered tanker was joining the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme in Singapore Strait when the incident occurred, the MPA statement added.
The ship capsized, leaving five crew members -- four Chinese and one Malaysian -- missing. Seven Chinese nationals who were on board the dredger were rescued by the Singapore Police Coast Guard (PCG) and transferred to the Singapore General Hospital.
The collision also damaged the hull of the tanker, but all of its 26 crew members were unhurt.
The MPA said it would continue to lead the search and rescue operations, which so far involve about 200 people, supported by multiple vessels and helicopters.
The MPA added that it had notified the Indonesian Rescue Coordination Center about the incident and they had deployed five vessels to assist with search and rescue in Indonesian territorial waters.
Andrew Tan, chief executive of MPA, said the authority had expressed its deepest condolences to the families of the two deceased and wish those injured a speedy recovery.
He said Singapore would continue with its search and rescue efforts to find the missing persons.