Malaysia has suspended the search for three missing crewmen of a Singapore-bound tanker that caught fire early this week, until new leads surfaced.
The development comes as rescue teams failed to find the men – two Indian nationals and one Ukrainian – on board the stricken ship, Pablo, on Friday.
“We searched the entire ship but we did not find them, and there were no indications that the men were on board,” said Johor Maritime director Nurul Hizam Zakaria.
He said the ship has started to tilt and smoke could be seen coming out from one of the ship’s funnel.
Based on the results of the search and a safety assessment of the vessel, First Admiral Nurul said a decision was taken to suspend the search on Friday night “until new leads are found”.
Previously, First Adm Nurul said the crew members could have been swept into Indonesian waters, and Malaysia has requested assistance from Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency to help look for the men.
The Gabon-registered tanker was heading for Singapore from China when it caught fire in the South China Sea off the Johor coast on Monday.
In a statement on Monday night, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre Singapore received information from the master of tanker Enola that the vessel had rescued 18 crew members from Pablo.
Seven other Pablo crew members were picked up by vessels in the vicinity.
There were no Singaporean crew members on board, the MPA said.
Media reports said four crew members of Pablo had serious injuries and were hospitalised in Johor.
Source : TheStraitsTimes