By Jite Eriabie
The total search area for the three missing crew of dredger JBB De Rond 19 was expanded on Wednesday, according to Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).
The total surface search area was expanded to 250 km2 from 130km2, while the aerial search area was expanded to 2701km2 from 770km2.
Five crew members went missing following a collision between the dredger and a 30,747 dwt tanker Kartika Segara in Singapore territorial waters on September 13. Divers managed to recover two bodies belonging to the dredger’s crew members later the same day.
A total of 12 crew, consisting of 11 Chinese nationals and one Malaysian, were onboard the dredger at the time of the incident. Seven were rescued and transferred to the Singapore General Hospital for medical treatment. Of the two crew members who were warded in hospital, one has since been discharged and one remains under observation.
The incident happened despite collision warnings issued by MPA Singapore while the dredger was transiting the westbound lane and the tanker was departing Singapore and joining the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in the Singapore Strait.
The MPA continues to lead the SAR efforts with support from relevant Singapore agencies. Supported by assets from the Singapore agencies, the operations include five aircraft from Republic of Singapore Air Force, 21 vessels from MPA, the Republic of Singapore Navy, Singapore Police Coast Guard and Singapore Civil Defence Force; and eight vessels from PSA Marine and POSH SEMCO.
To date, about 280 personnel have been involved in the SAR operations. The Indonesian Rescue Coordination Centre is working with Singapore authorities to assist the SAR operations with 10 vessels in Indonesian territorial waters.
The Indonesian-registered Kartika Segara reported damage to its starboard bow. The vessel is stable and anchored at the Eastern Anchorage, MPA earlier said, adding that the ship’s 26 Indonesian crew did not sustain any injuries.
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