(AP) — Six Filipino crewmen were missing Thursday after their cargo ship collided with a chemical tanker and sank off western Indonesia, officials said. Six other people were rescued. The Danish cargo ship Thorco Cloud collided with the chemical tanker Stolt Commitment about eight miles off Indonesia's Batam island late Wednesday, port official Gajah Rooseno said. The collision ripped a large hole below the water line on the cargo ship, causing it to sink, he said.
The tanker, operated by Stolt Tankers, suffered only minor damage. Rooseno said the cargo ship had 12 crew members from Ukraine and the Philippines and was operated by Copenhagen-based Thorco Shipping.
Thomas Mikkelsen, CEO of Thorco Shipping, said the ship's captain was among those rescued. He said the vessel was coming from Japan and was en route to western African before crossing to Brazil. Rooseno said authorities were investigating the cause of the collision, but that early evidence indicated that one of the ships had attempted to take a short cut and violated traffic separation rules.
Col. Ribut Eko Suyanto, chief of the naval base in Batam, said more than 100 rescuers were deployed on three navy ships and seven rescue boats to search for the missing crew members. The search was halted after nightfall and would be resumed Friday morning, he said.
"We will investigate the possibility that the missing crewmen are trapped under the wreckage," Suyanto said. He said anti-pollution craft from Singapore were on standby in case of an oil spill.
The cargo ship was carrying about 560 tons of fuel, Rooseno said.