Salvage crews try to free ships after collision

SINGAPORE: Salvage crews are trying to separate two merchant ships stuck together since they collided in the South China Sea eight days ago, Singapore's Maritime and Ports Authority said yesterday.  

The Panama-registered MT Gas Roman and the Singapore-registered MV Springbok collided on Feb 27, about 30km off Pulau Batu Puteh, a disputed islet territorially claimed by both Singapore and Malaysia. 

No injuries were reported, said authority spokeswoman Felicia Woo. She declined to give further details. 

The Springbok was laden with lumber while the Gas Roman was carrying liquefied petroleum gas. Precautions were being taken to prevent leaks from the ships, according to SMIT, an international maritime company heading the salvage operation. 

“Tugs are attempting to keep them out of the shipping lane and in international waters,'' said SMIT. ”All work is performed under close guidance of a marine chemist to prevent accidents. Up to now, there are no threats to the environment.'' 

The collision occurred near the spot where a Singaporean anti-submarine patrol boat and Dutch cargo vessel collided in January. – AP 

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