Tanker Sinks Tug in Straits of Malacca

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By MarEx 2016-03-09 11:38:21

On Monday, the Italian-owned product tanker Mare Tirrenum struck and sank the tug boat Ayu Lestri five nm off the coast of Rupat Island in the Straits of Malacca.

The Ayu Lestri, with the barge Malioboro 1 in tow with a shipment of palm oil, collided with the tanker and sank. The barge washed up ashore. Two crewmembers out of four aboard are missing and SAR efforts are ongoing, said Bengkalis police official Aloysius Supriyadi.

Fratelli d'Amico, the Rome-based owner of the 90,000 dwt Tirrenum, confirmed the incident in a statement to media. D'Amico said that the tanker – under charter to Pertamina-Chevron - was in ballast, en route to Dumai, where she was scheduled to be loaded. Following the collision and sinking, a pilot boat rescued two crewmembers of the tug, and the Tirrenum's master broadcast a man-overboard message to request assistance from passing vessels. No pollution from the Tirrenum resulted, and following the incident she got underway once more for Dumai, where her AIS signal showed her stopped offshore as of Monday afternoon.

Italian media report that the weather conditions and visibility were good at the time of the incident, and that the cause of the collision is not yet clear.

Fratelli d'Amico operates a fleet of 50 owned and chartered-in product tankers, and beyond the collision Monday, its tanker operations have only had good news to report this year, with $50 million in profits on $400 million in revenue in 2015, up from a $10 million loss the year before. The firm is in the midst of a $750 million newbuilding program, with 22 tankers on order, and sees strong growth ahead as ton-miles rise. d’Amico also operates a privately-owned dry bulk subsidiary based in Dublin; it bought some $300 million worth of bulkers in 2013.