Fire-damaged Singapore ship sinks

KOTA TINGGI - One of the two Singapore-registered vessels, which caught fire on Saturday, has sunk.

The MT Kit 57 sank seven hours after it caught fire at 11.40am.

Both Singapore-registered vessels were moored together one nautical mile south of Pulau Mungging, near here, when a fire broke out in the engine room of the unoccupied and unmanned MT Kit 57.

The 18 all-Myanmar crew of MT Kit 57, who were on board the other Singaporean-registered vessel -- the MT Sakses Satria 1 -- cut off the mooring ropes after the fire spread to their ship.

Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency Commander Mustafa Kamal Abas said investigations at the moment are focused on how the fire began.

Initial investigations revealed that the fire in the engine room could have been caused by a short-circuit.

The MT Kit 57 now lies at the bottom of the South China Sea at 01 20.85N and 104 17.80E.

"Marker buoys have been deployed over where MT Kit 57 rests as a warning to other ships, as the wreck can pose a danger to any vessel with a haul of 20m," Mustafa said.

It is learnt that the owners of MT Kit 57 are expected to salvage the vessel.

Mustafa added that investigations by relevant agencies, including the Maritime Department, are underway to establish if any breach in procedures or illegal ship-to-ship activities were conducted.

"The two Myanmar nationals who were injured in the incident are warded at Kota Tinggi Hospital, while the remaining crew members have had their statements recorded to facilitate investigations into the incident."

MT Kit 57 and MT Sakses Satria 1 were moored together, and were believed to be ferrying fuel.

They were anchored at a legal anchoring spot near Pulau Mungging, off the coast of Johor.

Johor Environment Department officers dispatched to the scene have not found any traces of oil spill at the site.