Malaysian firefighters board Taiwan tanker to locate missing sailors

Last Updated: Friday, August 21, 2009 - 13:29

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian firefighters on Friday boarded a stricken Taiwanese oil tanker carrying 58,000 tonnes of naphtha fuel in the Malacca Strait to locate nine missing Chinese crew members, police said.
The MT Formosa Product Brick tanker caught fire and was seriously damaged on Tuesday night after a collision with a Greek-managed bulk carrier on the vital Asian shipping route.

"The firefighters are on board the tanker. A police forensic team will join them to locate the bodies," Rizal Ramli, marine police chief in Port Dickson, said.

The accident happened off Port Dickson in Negeri Sembilan state, south of Kuala Lumpur.

Rizal said rescued crew members reported one sailor may be trapped in the engine room while eight may be in their cabins.

Naphtha is a flammable liquid mixture of hydrocarbons distilled from petroleum, coal tar and natural gas. It is used as fuel, as solvents and in making some chemicals.

Police on Wednesday said 16 crew members -- 14 Chinese and two Taiwanese -- had been rescued and admitted to hospital in Port Dickson.

The Greek-managed bulk carrier was not seriously damaged in the collision and had been ordered to berth near Port Dickson for investigation.

At least 94,000 ships sail narrow Malacca Strait, making it one of the busiest waterways in the world.

Bureau Report



First Published: Friday, August 21, 2009 - 13:29

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