Rescuers search for crew of fishing boat hit by oil tanker

March 13, 2019 16:06
A blue object, suspected to be from a downed fishing boat, can be seen in the waters off Lamma as rescue teams search the scene of a marine accident involving an oil tanker (seen in picture, top left). Photo: HK Police/Facebook

Rescue teams in Hong Kong are continuing to search for crew members of a fishing boat that sank in the waters off Lamma Island on Tuesday after colliding with an oil tanker.

At around 9 am, a fishing boat crashed into an oil tanker in an area one to two kilometers off south Lamma. Following the collision with the tanker, a mainland vessel named Tian Yi 5 that was heading to Shenzhen from Qingdao, the small boat went down.

It is not known how many people were in the fishing boat at the time and how many are missing.

Immediately after being made aware of the collision, the captain of the oil tanker notified the Marine Department, which soon coordinated with the police and the fire department to jointly conduct a search and rescue operation. 

The Government Flying Service also sent three helicopters for the operation.

As of midnight Tuesday, rescuers were unable to find any trace of the boat crew.

According to reports, the oil tanker only suffered minor damage and all of the 13 people aboard it were safe and sound.

However, the fishing boat was not so lucky, as it sank into the sea as a result of the impact.

According to RTHK, the collision had happened outside Hong Kong's territorial waters. Fire-fighting officials were quoted as saying that the rescue operation was limited to surface searches along Hong Kong maritime border for the time being because the sea was choppy and the area was vast.

Apple Daily reported that workers of the oil tanker, measuring 97 meters long and 15 meters wide, had taken a skiff and tried to save people from the fishing boat, only to find no one coming onto it.

Not much is known about the fishing boat that sank. Authorities are investigating whether the boat is from Hong Kong, and trying to determine the circumstances when it was hit.

The Marine Department has not received any report regarding oil leakage in relation to the accident, according to Apple Daily.

The search by the marine police and the fire department is ongoing in the waters of Hong Kong.

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