HONG KONG, May 5:Eleven mainland crewmen are missing feared drowned after their cargo vessel sank following a collision with a container ship southwest of Po Toi Island, outside Hong Kong waters before dawn today.
The only survivor was their 46-year-old colleague who was picked up by a passing fishing boat about 25 minutes after the collision, which happened 3.7km southwest of Po Toi Island about 2.30am, reported theSouth China Morning Post.Suffering minor scratches to the arms and legs, the man was sent to Hong Kong for treatment. A government source said it was possible the mainland-registered vessel,Zhong Xing 2, sank with the 11 missing crew members trapped aboard, or unable to escape in time. A rescue operation, co-ordinated by the Guangdong Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre, was launched, the Hong Kong Marine Department said. Mainland authorities have also deployed a fixed-wing plane to search the area. Captain Bruce Wong Ho-man, deputy manager of flight operations with the Government Flying Service, said a helicopter was sent out on two sorties — once in the morning and once in the afternoon.“An oil slick was spotted together with debris and some floating rings at the scene but no sign of the missing crews or sunken vessel were found,” he said. The 97-metreZhong Xing 2was carrying cement from Hebei province to the port of Haikou in Hainan province at the time the collision occurred, the Marine Department said. It had a crew of 12. A Marine Department spokesman said the vessel collided with a 300-metre Marshall Islands-registered container ship, MOLMotivator, which was leaving for Yantian in Guangdong from Hong Kong.