Malaysia Monitoring Possible Oil Spill After Freighter Sinks In Singapore Straits

Linda Khoo Hui Li Bernama 17 Dec 15;

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 17 (Bernama) -- Malaysia is closely monitoring the aftermath of yesterday's two-ship collision in the Straits of Singapore, which resulted in a freighter ferrying 560 metric tonnes of oil to sink as there is a possibility of oil spill in Malaysian waters.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said Malaysia had already taken precautionary measures against such an eventuality even though no oil spill was reported in the incident.

"Although the incident took place in Indonesian waters, monitoring is important because (we are) worried the oil spill could contaminate Malaysian waters through the currents, either through the Straits of Melaka, Straits of Singapore, or Johor waters," he told Bernama here today.

He said he had also been in touch with Singapore's Environment and Water Resources Minister, Masagor Zulkifli on the precautionary measures and preparedness of both countries in the event of an oil spill.

Wan Junaidi said the Department of Environment (DoE) would provide him with updates on the latest developments relating to the incident, adding it would also work with the National Environment Agency (NEA) of Singapore.

Singapore's Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) in a press release posted on its Facebook page said, a freighter carrying 560 metric tonnes of bunker fuel, sank after it collided with a chemical tanker in the Straits of Singapore at 8.14pm yesterday, in Indonesian waters about six nautical miles (11km) north-west of Batam.

The freighter 'Thorco Cloud' bearing the Antigua and Barbuda flag with 12 crew members, collided with a Cayman Island-registered chemical tanker 'Stolt Commitment'.

Reports said six crew members were missing following the collision.

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency director-general Admiral Datuk Ahmad Puzi Ab Kahar when contacted said initial reports said the 'Thorco Cloud' had sank.

He urged Malaysian vessels passing through the straits to exercise care when approaching the site.


Indonesia testing 'oil' found after freighter collision
Navy official says fuel spotted in Strait of Singapore after freighter collides with chemical tanker; 6 crew missing
World Bulletin 17 Dec 15;

Rescue teams were searching Thursday for six crewmembers missing after their oil-laden freighter collided with a chemical tanker in the Strait of Singapore, as Indonesian authorities announced that fuel found at the site was being tested.

Col. Ribut Eko Suryatno, commander of the Batam island marine base, told the Tribun Batam newspaper that oil from the Thorco Cloud had been sited in the waters of the Singapore Strait.

"We have taken a sample of the oil," he said of the navy’s efforts to determine the level of sea pollution.

Commissioner Police Hero Hendrianto Bakhtiar, director of sea and air police for the Riau Islands region, told, "six lost crew members are still being sought by the navy and the Search and Rescue Agency.”

Bakhtiar said the Thorco Cloud freighter, which was carrying 560 metric tons of bunker fuel, was hit by chemical tanker Stolt Commitment while sailing from Singapore to Taiwan in the busiest commercial shipping route between Riau Islands and Singapore.

Six of the 12 crewmembers have been rescued by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore since the accident occurred at 08.30 p.m. (1330GMT) Wednesday around 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) northwest of Batam island.

Six of the total 12 crew could be saved by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and transported to a hospital in the country.

The Indonesian navy has deployed three ships to help regulate maritime traffic at the site of the collision.

As of Thursday afternoon, only the tip of the crane used in moving cargo was visible from the body of the Thorco Cloud.

MPA Press Release 17 Dec 15;

On 16 December 2015 at 2014 hours (Singapore time), Cayman Islands-registered chemical tanker “Stolt Commitment” and freighter “Thorco Cloud” bearing the Antigua and Barbuda flag collided in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in the Singapore Strait. The incident happened in Indonesian waters 6 nautical miles (11 km) north-west of Batam.

The chemical tanker sustained minor damage and is in stable condition. The freighter carrying 560 metric tonnes of bunker fuel sank. There was no Singaporean crew member on either vessel.

MPA deployed two patrol craft for search and rescue operations. Singapore’s Police Coast Guard (PCG) supported MPA by deploying five boats, and rescued five of the 12 freighter crew members. A sixth was rescued by the chemical tanker. The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) dispatched two vessels to assist in the search and rescue efforts. SCDF also conveyed the six rescued crew members to Singapore General Hospital. Search and rescue operations for the remaining freighter crew members are on-going.

MPA has alerted the Indonesian authorities of the incident. The Indonesian authorities have also commenced search and rescue operations. MPA is assisting the Indonesian authorities to survey and mark the sunken freighter to ensure navigational safety.

MPA has issued navigational broadcasts to vessels in the vicinity to keep clear of the area and to report any sightings of the missing crew members. There is no disruption to shipping traffic in the Singapore Strait. While there are currently no reports of any oil spill, MPA has also put on standby anti-pollution craft.

Freighters collide, six missing in Batam waters
The Jakarta Post, Batam 18 Dec 15;

A freighter laden with steel pipes cut through the traffic separation scheme (TSS) onto the western lane off Batam and collided with another freighter carrying chemicals on Wednesday evening.

The collision caused the MV Thorco Cloud, laden with pipes, to sink. Six of its Filipino crew members are missing. Indonesia’s port authority remains on standby to prevent any pollution that may occur as a consequence of the accident, as does Singapore’s port authority.

Batam Port Authority Office head Gajah Rooseno told The Jakarta Post on Thursday that the mishap had occurred when the Antigua-flag carrying MV Thorco Cloud, that had departed the Batu Ampar Port in Batam for Durban, South Africa, cut through the TTS into the western lane, around two miles north of Sambu Island, Batam.

At this time, the Cayman Island flag carrier MV Stolt Commitment, laden with liquid chemicals, had been travelling the western lane from Singapore to Kao Shiung, Taiwan. The accident sank MV Thorco Cloud and ripped the stern of the MV Stolt Commitment.

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