The six crew members of the Antigua and Barbuda-flagged freighter Thorco Cloud that went missing after their ship sank in the Singapore Strait in the evening hours of December 16 remain unaccounted for despite ongoing search and rescue efforts, according to the Mission of Seafarers responding to the tragedy.
“Search and rescue operations have been continuing to try and locate a further 6 missing seafarers but so far no-one else has been found. The incident, which took place in Indonesian waters close to Batam, left the other vessel involved – the chemical tanker the MV Stolt Commitment- with minor damage and in a stable condition,” the charity organization said.
MV Thorco Cloud had 12 crew members on board when it collided with Cayman Islands-registered chemical tanker Stolt Commitment and sank, out of which six were rescued.
“I met with the surviving crew and the Captain, who are all very distraught. They told me that they had survived by staying afloat with life jackets but they all thought that they were going to die. One crew mentioned that while in the water, he slipped on every attempt to get on to a floating metal cover as he was covered in bunker oil, it was very frightening for him. As they had lost all their personal belongings, I provided them with clothes, a phone so that they could call their anxious families and prayed with them,” said the Revd Peter Manimathu, Port Chaplain for The Mission to Seafarers in Jurong Port.
Indonesia has now taken the lead concerning the investigation of the accident, and, based on the latest update from the sunken vessel’s owner Thorco Shipping, the captain was being interviewed by the investigators together with the Thorco Shipping appointed lawyer.
“The Antigua & Barbuda Flag State is contributing in relation to IMO casualty code for fact finding, and witnesses have been interviewed by them as well. It is our hope that the VDR (voice data recorder) will be released today for investigation purposes. Diver will be requested to investigate the wreck at first daylight if possible. Moreover, the local authorities have activated an oil pollution alert and the situation is under control,” Thorco said on October 18th.
Based on the latest information from Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority, a search covering a radius of 10 Nm from the incident site was being conducted.
Until now, RCC Tanjung Pinang (BARSARNAS) teams have recovered 2 life rafts, 1 lifeboat and the EPIRB from the MV Thorco Cloud. MPA’s hydrographic surveys revealed that the Thorco Cloud had broken into 2 sections. The stern section was located on the seabed where the ship sank at a depth of 39 metres.
Although there is no impact to surface navigation, all ships have been advised to keep clear of the sunken wreck. The bow section of the ship is still visible and has grounded about 1000 metres to the east of the sunken stern section.
World Maritime News Staff