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Removing 4 191 sunken cars up to Indonesia and automaker

May 25, 2003

Singapore — Removing 4,191 new cars resting on the seabed is up to Indonesian maritime authorities and South Korea's largest automaker, a Singapore port official said on Monday.

The auto carrier MV Hyundai No. 105 has drifted into Indonesian waters since the collision before midnight Saturday with oil tanker Mt Kaminesan, 6 kilometres southeast of Singapore's Sentosa Island, said Lee Cheng Wee, deputy portmaster for Maritime and Ports Authority of Singapore (MPA).

"Hyundai Motor Co. and Indonesian authorities will decide on the removal," Lee said. "Since the collision took place in Singapore waters, the MPA will be conducting an inquiry into the cause."

The cars are currently lying in 46 metres of water after the 184 metre-long and 31 metre-wide freighter bound for Bremerhaven in Germany and Port Sheerness in England sank Sunday morning.

The crew of 20, four South Koreans and 16 Filipinos, were rescued and brought to Singapore.

The MPA said port operations and vessel traffic are unaffected although ships have been told to keep clear of the sunken vessel.

The Panama-registered Kaminesan was loaded with nearly 300,000 tons of fuel oil. Its bow and forepeak tank were damaged and it was moved to a special purpose anchorage.

There was no environmental damage from oil leakage, Lee said.

The MV Hyundai was on a long-term charter to Seoul-based Eukor Car Carriers, an owner and operator of 83 vessels.

The 3,000 cars were mainly new ones exported by Hyundai and its Kia Motors affiliate.

Singapore-based brokers and insurers estimated the value of the hull at 17 million U.S. dollars and the cargo at $50 million U.S.

Prior to the collision, both of the ships were warned by Singapore's Vessel Traffic Information Service that they were on a collision course, the MPA said. –Sapa-DPA


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