These videos show two dredging ships that collect sand and other material off the sea floor sinking into the sea leaving 12 sailors missing.
Sand carrier vessels ‘Jia Liang’ and ‘Dong Hong’ – both registered to mainland China – sent out distress calls on 6th October while operating in the Taiwan Strait.
One was reportedly a vessel which should only be used in rivers and could not withstand the 20-foot waves, causing it to capsize, while the other was reported to have simply sunk, although it is unclear if it was a river vessel too.
Video Credit: AsiaWire
Taiwan’s Coast Guard Administration said the two vessels suspected of illegally dredging and transporting ocean sand were found in the waters off the outlying Penghu islands.
Coastguard personnel from Taiwan, China and Hong Kong took part in the rescue.
China Coast Guard rescue vessel ‘Nan Hai Jiu 101’ picked up 13 crew from sinking sand carrier Jia Liang; however, none of Dong Hong’s 12 sailors were seen in the waters surrounding the capsizing vessel.
Dong Hong, which officials say was still anchored at the time of the incident, was approached by the crew of Nan Hai Jiu 101 who repeatedly knocked on the ship’s hull in their search for survivors.
No response was heard, Taiwanese officials said.
Hong Kong, which dispatched a fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft to scan the surrounding waters, recalled the plane due to a lack of fuel.
Chinese authorities were still searching for the 12 missing Dong Hong crew at the time of writing.
Reports in Taiwan said both vessels are suspected to have taken part in illegal ocean-dredging operations and the selling of ocean sand to mainland Chinese construction firms.
Sand carrier vessel Dong Hong was a flat-bottomed barge, which was suited only to river transport, and which could not withstand the harsh conditions at sea, including waves reaching 20 feet.
Dredgers are used in both rivers and oceans to collect sand for use in construction.
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