Search, rescue ongoing after sand dredging ship capsizes off Malaysia

Updated 2018-03-22 08:56:01 Xinhua

Malaysia launched search and rescue operations after a sand dredging vessel capsized Wednesday in the waters off Malaysia in the Malacca Strait, leaving at least one dead and 14 crew members missing.

There were 18 crew members on the vessel, including one Malaysian, one Indonesian and 16 Chinese citizens, according to Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), the country's coast guard.

Three have been rescued, one was found dead and 14 remained missing.

The Chinese embassy in Malaysia confirmed to Xinhua that among the 16 Chinese crew members, one was dead and 12 remained missing. The three rescued are in good condition.

Zulkifili Abu Bakar, chief of MMEA, said the search and rescue is ongoing with assets from his agency as well as the Malaysian marine police.

"Now we got five assets at the sea, three from MMEA and two from marine police," said Sanifah Bin Yusof, Deputy Director of MMEA's Southern region.

Sanifah said at least some of the missings could be trapping inside the ship.

"We checked the ship and got good communication when we knocked the body of the ship, got some reply from the inside," he told Xinhua at the operation center, "We are trying to save their lives with diving operation."

Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin, chief of the Malaysian Navy, told Xinhua that a navy vessel has been dispatched with a diving team to join the search and rescue operations.

The Chinese embassy said the Chinese Marine Search and Rescue Center had also sent divers and experts to assist the search and rescue.

The Dominican-registered vessel, JBB RONG CHANG 8, capsized 8.5 nautical miles off Parit Jawa in southern Malaysian state of Johor. MMEA said it received a distress call at around 8:50 a.m. local time Wednesday and launched a search-and-rescue mission afterwards.

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