Monday, May 5, 2014, 18:16
11 missing as cargo ship sinks off HK after collision
By Agencies

HONG KONG - Rescuers are searching for 11 crew members of a cargo vessel that sank after colliding with a container ship in waters near Hong Kong.

The 97-meter cargo ship Zhong Xing 2 sank after the collision with the 300-m- long Marshall Islands-registered MOL Motivator about two nautical miles southwest of Po Toi Island, a spokeswoman of the Hong Kong Maritime Department said.

"Zhong Xing 2 is suspected to have sunk after the collision, and it is reported there are 12 crew onboard," said the spokeswoman, who declined to be identified in line with department policy.

"One of them was picked up by a fishing vessel navigating close by," she added. The remaining 11 crew of the Chinese ship were reported missing.

The accident occured around 2:30 am local time Monday in international waters just south of the southern Chinese city.

More than 10 vessels from south China's Guangdong province are joining search efforts, local authorities said.

The Guangdong Provincial Maritime Search and Rescue Center launched an emergency response and sent three patrol and rescue ships as well a helicopter to assist with the rescue.

According to China's Ministry of Transport, another 12 vessels and two rescue helicopters will joining the mission.

Zhong Xing 2, was carrying cement when it collided with MOL Motivator, which has a dry weight tonnage of 79,400 tonnes according to Thomson Reuters data, and was travelling from Hong Kong to Yantian port in southern China.

A command center in Guangdong province on the mainland is coordinating the search and rescue effort, as the incident happened outside Hong Kong waters, the spokeswoman said.

Hong Kong is the world's fourth largest container port, after neighbouring Shenzhen, which occupies third place.

Vessels navigating near the collision site have been warned there may be a sunken ship nearby and have been asked to stay away.

The Hong Kong Observatory issued an amber rain warning, signalling expectations of heavy rain in parts of the territory overnight.

Thirty-nine people died in the city's worst maritime disaster in more than 40 years in October 2012 when a high-speed ferry and a pleasure boat collided.