Five Missing After Ferry Sinks off Taiwan

taiwan coast guard
Taiwan Coast Guard cutter (file image courtesy Xiaoyang 2018 / CC SA 4.0)

Published Oct 25, 2020 4:35 PM by The Maritime Executive

Five crewmembers have been rescued and five are missing after the ferry Seatran Ferry 12 went down off Kaohsiung, Taiwan on Friday night. 

Taiwan's Coast Guard Administration received a request for assistance from the vessel at about 2200 hours on Friday. The Seatran had lost power several days earlier, according to the Bangkok Post, and it was in distress. A tugboat responded to the vessel and made up a tow line, but the effort was not successful. The ferry sank at a position about 30 nm to the west of Kaohsiung at about 2250 hours. 

A search and rescue aircraft located five survivors in the water at about 0030 hours the next morning, and a tugboat rescued them successfully. Two were injured and required hospital treatment. 

At about 0615 hours, a Coast Guard Administration vessel spotted a life raft, but found it to be empty. 

Five remaining crewmembers - all Thai nationals - remain missing. Eight CGA vessels are involved in an ongoing search. 

Taiwan's Marine Conservation Department is monitoring the area of the sinking for signs of pollution. The vessel had about 36 metric tonnes of diesel fuel and half a ton of lube oil on board at the time of the casualty, and a slick measuring about one kilometer long by fifty meters wide has been spotted. However, the authorities do not expect any significant environmental impact, as any pollution from a diesel spill should dissipate quickly. 

The Seatran Ferry 12 was a 250 dwt ro/pax ferry flagged in Tuvalu. The 1994-built vessel had been purchased by Bangkok-based Seatran Ferry Co. earlier this year from Japanese firm Shikoku Ferry KK, and it was intended for use on Seatran's operations in Thailand's Surat Thani province. It was on a delivery voyage to Thailand at the time of the casualty