Two offshore support vessels (OSVs) have sunk in Malaysia in separate incidents
North of Sabah, Malaysia, anchor handling tug supply vessel Mermaid Challenger sank after suffering water ingress in its bow section. Royal Malaysian Navy said one of its vessels rescued all seven crew on 17 January 2021, but the vessel was lost off Segama, Lahad Datu.
The master of the Panama-flagged OSV sent out a distress signal after it started sinking after water breached the hull, 67 nautical miles off Sandakan. Crew then abandoned Mermaid Challenger into liferafts and were later picked up by naval transport KD Sri Gaya.
According to Mermaid Subsea, the 1991-built vessel had dynamic positioning to DP1 class, 72 tonnes of bollard pull, a work-class ROV for subsea support work and was classed by DNV GL.
In another maritime accident on 18 January, offshore supply vessel Setia Kilas drifted onto rocks at Kuala Terengganu port in Malaysia Peninsula and then sank. This occurred after the 2009-built and Malaysia-flagged vessel suffered engine failure while testing machinery at sea.
All seven crew and three engineering contractors facilitating the machinery testing jumped off Setia Kilas on to rocks at the port and were rescued. Maritime Enforcement Agency said the crew was safe, but the vessel could not be rescued and sank.
These incidents came a week after the loss of a harbour tug on 13 January, which capsized and sank in Sabah. During that incident, only two of the five crew were rescued.
On 15 January, a fishing vessel capsized and sank in the same area, with two of the four crew rescued.
It is likely Setia Kilas will need to be refloated and removed in the coming months.
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