MUAR, Johor state, Malaysia Navy divers are to be deployed to rescue 14 crew who are believed to have been trapped inside a capsized sandmining vessel off Johor, according to rescuers.

The JBB Rong Chang 8 had 18 crew, one of them Malaysian and the rest foreigners, when it capsized at 8.5 nautical miles off Parit Jawa, near Muar.

One of the crew drowned, three were rescued and 14 are missing.

The commander of the searchandrescue (SAR) operation, Capt (Maritime) Sanifah Yusof, said they did not rule out the possibility of the missing crew being trapped inside the vessel.

Sanifah, who is the Maritime Malaysia southern region deputy director (operations), said they conducted the knocking test on the vessel at about 3 pm and detected a response, indicating that there were people trapped inside the vessel.

He said the vessel was large and the trapped crew would be able to survive for 24 to 48 hours.

He also said that they had sought the assistance of the Royal Malaysian Navy divers to help rescue the trapped crew.

The RMN will send the KD Mahameru vessel from the Lumut naval base. It is expected to arrive at the location at about 5 am tomorrow and the SAR operation would be conducted for 24 hours, he said.

Sanifah said the vessel had 18 crew, comprising one Malaysian and17 foreigners, all aged between 20 and 64.

He said the three rescued crewmen and the body of the drowned crewman had been brought to the Sultanah Fatimah Specialist Hospital in Muar, but their identities had yet to be established.

Sanifah said the operation today involved efforts to rescue the missing crew, curbing the oil spill from polluting the country’s waters and preventing any collision of vessels.

Source: NAM News Network