Seafarers saved by Chinese rescuers and container ship

Chinese maritime safety officials with the rescued seafarers. Credit: Maritime Safety Administration, Fujian provincial branch

Ten Myanmarese seafarers have been rescued by China’s Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) and a passing container vessel after they abandoned ship.

The Fujian provincial branch of the MSA said that it received a call from its patrol vessel, around 2110 local time on 19 January 2020, informing officials that a general cargo ship, Lian Feng 18, had run into difficulties and its crew was preparing to evacuate.

It turned out that the Togo-flagged Lian Feng 18, a 1985-built 1,599-dwt general cargo ship, was heading towards Busan, South Korea, after departing Taiwan’s Kaohsiung Port. The ship had begun listing after its ballast water valve became faulty.

The MSA notified the nearest maritime search and rescue (SAR) centre, which is in Zhangzhou city, and the centre dispatched a patrol vessel, Wanhai 222, to where Lian Feng 18 was, after determining the ship’s position through the vessel traffic service. At the time, the stricken ship was in waters between the Chinese provinces of Fujian and Guangdong. The Zhangzhou Marine Fishery Bureau also sent a vessel to the scene to assist the rescuers.

Meanwhile, the 10 seafarers had put on their life jackets and evacuated on a life raft. By 2240 local time, they were all picked up by a passing container ship, SITC Surabaya, which is operated by Chinese intra-Asia carrier SITC Container Lines.

The rescued men rested inside the SITC Surabaya overnight, before the Zhangzhou SAR centre’s vessel, Haixun 0801, picked them up around 1000 local time on 20 January. By 15.00, the men were brought ashore.

Lian Feng 18, which had a number of containers, was found to have 20 tonnes of low-sulphur fuel oil. The ship has been anchored, pending an inspection.