Tugboat Undergoing Sea Trails Near China's Jingjiang Sinks, Kills 21

China’s Jiangsu Maritime Safety Administration (JMSD) reported that a tugboat with 25 people on board sank Thursday afternoon while undergoing sea trial in the Yangtze River near Jingjiang, Jiangsu Province, killing 21, while 3 were rescued and one remained missing, local news agency Xinhua said Saturday.

The tugboat – Wanshenzhou 67 – was lifted out of the water on Saturday, 40 hours after it sank in the Fubei Channel, near Jingjiang, with preliminary investigations by JMSD attributing the vessel’s sinking to “improper operations.”

Eight foreigners, including those from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, India and Japan, were among the deceased.

Three of them were employees of Jurong Marine Services Pte Ltd. (JMS) – the tug towing subsidiary of Singapore's Sembcorp Marine Ltd., the company said in a press statement Friday.

"On Jan. 15, Sembcorp Marine Ltd’s tug towing subsidiary Jurong Marine Services Pte Ltd had three employees witnessing a sea trial of a new tug boat it had planned to charter ... Unfortunately, the tug boat sank during the sea trial," Sembcorp Marine said.

The three missing employees, comprising two Singaporeans and an Indonesian, were among the deceased identified by the Chinese authorities, the company added in an update Saturday on the incident.

The 98.4 foot- (30 meter-) long tugboat, weighing 368 tons, was built by China's Anhui Bengbu Shenzhou Machinery Co. Ltd. in October.


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