14 missing after vessel capsizes

14 missing after vessel capsizes
The ship capsizing 8.6 nautical miles off Tanjung Punggai.

KOTA TINGGI, Johor - A dredge vessel on its way to Pengerang capsized some 8.6 nautical miles east off Tanjung Punggai here in the wee hours yesterday with14 crew members missing.

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Tanjung Sedili enforcement chief Captain Amran Daud said a search and rescue mission has been launched to locate the crewmen.

He said the Bolivian-registered vessel with 15 crewmen including one Malaysian and the rest being Chinese nationals was ferrying sand from Teluk Ramunia offshore to Pengerang.

"The vessel was hit several times by strong waves before it capsized and its crew members falling into the sea at around 4.20am," he said.

A passing ship rescued one of the crew, a 51-year-old Chinese national, before alerting the Johor Port which relayed the information to the agency.

Amran said the agency had deployed its ship, three boats and its aircraft to find the other missing crew.

"However our mission to find the missing crewmen hit a snag due to bad weather and choppy seas.

"We will continue to find them," he said adding that MMEA boats would patrol the area at night.

He said the MMEA has widened the search area to five nautical miles from where the vessel capsized and is conducting the search and rescue mission together with the Marine Operations Force.

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