Singaporean, 31, among 3 who drowned after barge sinks off Batam


It was his first time out at sea on the job, but the marketing executive lost his life when a submerging trial for a submersible barge in Batam went wrong on Friday night.

Mr Terence Chew Zhi Wei, 31, was among three people who drowned after the bow of the Posh Mogami tilted unexpectedly while the trial was being conducted.

This resulted in the flooding of the control room compartment, said a statement by PACC Offshore Services Holdings (Posh), whose associate owns the barge.

Mr Chew's father was in despair that this had to happen the first time that his only son, who could not swim, had gone out to sea, Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao reported yesterday.

Mr Chew, a Singaporean, was from the company's transport and installation division.

Two other people also died in the incident, Chinese national Shen Ming Ming, 27, and Myanmar national Ye Myint Myat, 33.

Six others who were on the barge - five Posh employees and a consultant - were rescued by vessels belonging to Posh that were stationed nearby, the statement added.

Among the six were two Singaporeans - Mr Ho Kok Ching, 41, a technical superintendent with Posh, and Mr Ng Boon Guan, 54, a project engineer from one of its related companies.

The company spokesman said these two men were involved in the test that was being carried out, and as of yesterday, they were still in Batam to help with investigations.

The others rescued were a Malaysian, a Filipino, an Indonesian and the barge's Dutch captain.

The elder Mr Chew told Lianhe Wanbao that the captain told him that he had been holding on to Mr Chew's hand as they fled the barge, but later lost sight of him.

He questioned why the family was informed about the tragedy only at 1.30pm on Saturday.

Mr Chew's wife was informed on Facebook by one of her husband's colleagues.

For her, Batam holds two different memories.


It was where she and Mr Chew had celebrated their anniversary of either meeting each other or falling in love, Lianhe Wanbao reported.

But the Indonesian island was also "the place where my husband lost his life on Fri 18 July 2014", she posted on Facebook.

Mr Chew's distraught mother told Lianhe Wanbao that her son and daughter-in-law had registered their marriage in December 2012 and had moved into their new flat at Kim Tian Road in Tiong Bahru only two months ago.

She said Mr Chew had postponed the wedding dinner for more than a year because he was busy at work. He had been planning to have it next year.

Mr Chew's aunt said his parents, wife and in-laws had gone to Batam on Saturday to identify his body. They returned yesterday morning.

Responding to queries from The New Paper, Posh said it was conducting its investigations and will work with the relevant authorities to determine the cause of the accident.

Built in 2012, the Posh Mogami is 150m long and, according to its particulars, can be submerged to a maximum depth of 9.5m above the main deck.

It can transport port equipment and all types of floating units including ferries, river barges and tugs.

- Additional reporting by Shaffiq Alkhatib news

This article was first published on July 22, 2014.
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