The Thorco Cloud going under (Photo: EPA)
The Antigua-flagged freighter Thorco Cloud went down following a collision on Wednesday with the chemical tanker Stolt Commitment in the Singapore Strait, six nm north of Batam.
The two vessels were on crossing courses after both entered the Strait’s traffic separation scheme, and the Commitment allegedly struck the Cloud amidships, holing her below the waterline.
Trackline video released by VesselFinder.com does not appear to indicate attempts at evasive maneuvers by the vessels.
Singapore’s Police Coast Guard and Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) responded, with additional assistance from a merchant chemical tanker. Six of 12 crewmembers have already been rescued, and the search continues for the missing.
Media suggest that all 12 crewmembers went into the water before the vessel went down.
The Singapore Civil Defense Force also sent vessels to the scene, and evacuated the rescued crew to a hospital. Media report that Indonesian authorities have also joined the search effort.
The Norwegian-operated 40,000 dwt Commitment sustained only minor damage, according to Singaporean authorities.
The sunken freighter may pose a hazard to navigation, and authorities are working to mark it and notify ships in the area to maintain vigilance for missing crew and steer clear of the wreckage. However, authorities said that there would be no disruption to traffic due to the sinking.
As of Thursday there were no reports of pollution, but as the 10,000 dwt Thorco Cloud went down with over 500 tons of bunkers on board, authorities are keeping a watchful eye on the wreck site in order to respond appropriately to any spill.
The Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS) have approximately 70,000 vessel transits annually, carrying about a third of global trade