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Home >> China
UPDATED: 09:11, June 20, 2007
Investigators blame Chinese ship for fatal collision with ROK vessel
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Chinese maritime officials on Tuesday blamed the crew of a Chinese container ship for a collision with a Korean vessel that left six seamen dead and ten missing last month.

The Ministry of Communications revealed its findings at a press conference in Beijing, saying the "Jinsheng" was primarily responsible for the collision with the Republic of Korea vessel "Golden Rose".

The "Golden Rose" was also partly to blame as it failed to take avoiding action after the "Jinsheng" turned on its collision course, said Liu Gongchen, executive deputy director of the China Maritime Search and Rescue Center.

Liu said both ships violated the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea by sailing too fast and misjudging the risk of collision.

He said the ROK ship sank so quickly after the collision that there was no time for the crew to abandon ship, leaving 16 sailors missing.

The Chinese ship failed to promptly report the accident to the local search and rescue center although it informed its operating company and applied for a maritime visa with Dalian shipping and transportation administration, said Wang Jinfu, head of the Chinese investigation team.

Wang said the Chinese ship operated by Shandong Lufeng Shipping Company Ltd. left the accident scene before fulfilling its search and rescue obligations and the Chinese authorities would investigate this issue and prosecute the company.

When the accident occurred, the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and the Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) on the ROK ship failed to activate, according to investigations jointly carried out by Chinese and ROK experts.

Both ships were responsible for the delay in the rescue operation, said Wang, adding the ROK investigators would further investigate the causes of the emergency system failure on the "Golden Rose".

The "Golden Rose" loaded with 5,900 tons of steel sank off the coast near Yantai City, east China's Shandong Province, at around 3:00 a.m. on May 12 in heavy fog after a collision involving the Saint Vincent-registered container ship "Jinsheng".

Its 16 crew members, eight ROK nationals, seven Myanmese and one Indonesian, were reported missing.

Six bodies have been recovered and identified, three ROK nationals and three Myanmese, according to the vessel's operating company.

The bodies of the three ROK sailors were repatriated on May 30 and the body of a Myanmese sailor was cremated in Yantai, the workers said.

The bodies of the other two were airlifted to Myanmar via the ROK on May 31.

More than 300 Chinese rescue vessels and helicopters were involved in the search over the past three weeks.

Thirty-four divers are still searching for the remaining ten sailors.

Source: Xinhua

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