Divers have been deployed while air being pumped into the sand dredger that capsized in the waters off Malaysia in the Malacca Strait to search for and rescue the missing crew members, officials said Thursday.
Officials said the work of pumping air into ship is ongoing to keep it afloat, and to facilitate the divers to enter the ship. A least some of the missing are believed to be trapped inside the ship as there were knocking sound on the hull.
Measures have also been taken to prevent the ship from drifting away in the busy sea lane.
The Malaysian navy have sent 23 divers and more than 100 personnel to join the search and rescue operations with Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, marine police, firefighters and professional divers.
"The divers will be facing challenges as there would be many objects floating inside a capsized vessel, as well as difficulty to open hatch doors due to air pressure," said Tay Yap Leong, commander of the Navy's diving team.
The Chinese embassy in Malaysia said its officials had arrived at the search and rescue operation center to coordinate the efforts. Search and rescue personnel from China have also arrived in Malaysia and would join the operations soon.
Malaysian launched search and rescue operations after a sand dredging vessel capsized Wednesday in the waters off its southern Johor state, leaving at least one dead and 14 crew members missing.
Among the 16 Chinese crew members, one was dead, 12 were missing while three were rescued. There were also a Malaysian and an Indonesian onboard, who were also missing.