Captain held after vessels collide at sea

Updated: 2016-05-09 08:27

By Xu Wei In Beijing And Zhang Xiaomin In Dalian(China Daily)

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China has detained 20 crew members from a Maltese bulk carrier that allegedly collided with a Chinese fishing boat, leaving two dead and 17 crew members missing as rescuers continued to look for survivors on Sunday.

The detained crew members from the Catalina include the captain. They have been placed under investigation by border control and maritime authorities after being detained in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, China National Radio reported.

Meanwhile, rescue ships from the maritime authorities, the Donghai Fleet of the Chinese Navy and other vessels in nearby waters have been searching for survivors.

China Central Television reported that the rescue effort, which includes six Navy vessels, was being hampered by volatile weather conditions, which caused poor visibility.

The fishing vessel, Lu Rong Yu 58398 from Rongcheng, Shandong province, capsized after it collided with the Maltese freighter in coastal waters about 80 nautical miles from Ningbo, Qilu Evening News reported. The report said the Maltese freighter was initially suspected of attempting to flee the scene.

Two fishermen from the vessel were pulled from the water but failed to survive.

A spokesman for Transport Malta said the authority was aware of the alleged incident and was investigating, the Times of Malta reported on Saturday.

Data from Marine Traffic, a website that provides real-time information about the movements of ships and the locations of those in port, indicates the freighter is currently docked near Ningbo.

The freighter, which was built in 2005, has a gross tonnage of 40,485. Its home port is Valletta, the capital of Malta, according to the website.

Meanwhile, rescuers were also trying to reach another 14 mariners from two fishing vessels that had gone missing in coastal waters near Haiyang Island, which is located near Dalian, Liaoning province.

The Dalian Maritime Search and Rescue Center said on Sunday that a squad of rescuers had managed to find and board one of the vessels, which had capsized.

In another development, marine rescuers saved the 22 crew members of a container vessel that caught fire after colliding with a Liberian boat off East China.

The container vessel from Hong Kong, the Safmarine Maru, and the Liberian vessel Northern Jasper collided in waters 15 nautical miles southeast of the Langgang Mountain Islets around 1 am on Sunday.

Marine authorities have advised boats traveling in the region to exercise caution to avoid accidents.