6 Killed in Gravel Ship Sinking Off Northern Taiwan, 2 Missing
A Taiwan-registered gravel ship has sunk off the northern coast of Taiwan. Six crew members are dead, seven are injured and two others are still missing.
The Coast Guard Administration reports that the Kaohsiung-registered, nearly 3,000-ton vessel suffered from mechanical failure shortly after leaving Keelung Harbor for Hualien, a city on the east coast of Taiwan.
All of the total 13 crewmen were rescued from the ocean, but six were pronounced dead upon being rushed to local hospitals. Two were Taiwanese natives; the other four were from Indonesia. The two missing crew members happen to be the ship’s captain and engineer, both from Taiwan. Eight coast guard vessels are currently engaged in an ongoing search for the men.
The 30-year-old Hai Hsiang No. 8 left Keelung Harbor loaded with about 4,000 tons of gravel. The crew informed Keelung Harbor authorities in the wee hours of the morning that the ship was listing and that they intended to return to the harbor, according to Focus Taiwan News Channel. The control center immediately alerted the rescue authorities and also asked other nearby ships to help with rescue efforts. The vessel, however, sank quickly.
The initial investigation conducted following the accident shows that the vessel’s first engineer was not present onboard during the sinking. Customs data proves that the ship should have 16 crew members on duty; the ship owner may now be facing over US$2,000 in fines for the chief engineer’s absence.
Photo (thumb): West view of Keelung Harbor, Taiwan