Sunday, February 19, 2006

Cargo Ship Sinks, 31 Sailors Still Missing

Two survivors from the sinking of a Panamanian cargo ship in rough seas off eastern China were out of danger, while 31 others were still missing. The hope for the missing to survive is very slim, said an official with the Maritime Safety Administration of the Fujian Province, east China, which is in charge of the rescue work. "Strong wind and huge waves hampered the rescue operation," said the official, who refused to give his name. One of the two saved Chinese sailors, Nian Yuelin, was discharged from the No.1 People's Hospital of Ximen City, where the two were treated, while the other, He Jinliang, 27, was receiving observation, according to the hospital.
According to the Fujian Provincial Maritime Safety Administration, the accident took place at 11:28 p.m. when the ship struck a reef in the sea near Dongjia island in Fujian Province. All 37 Chinese crew members aboard fell off. The provincial maritime rescue center immediately sent helicopters and ships to search near the position where the freighter went down and found four victim bodies on early the next morning. The ship, HENGDA 1, with a tonnage of 1,499 and a length of 84.8 meters, was carrying aquatic products to Indonesia. It struck the reef because of strong winds measuring 8 to 10 on the Beaufort Scale, rescuers said.

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