A delegation of experts from Ukraine arrived at Hong Kong Tuesday to help with the rescue and investigation after a Ukrainian tugboat collided with a Chinese mainland-registered vessel and sunk near Hong Kong on Saturday, Xinhua reports.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government said in a press release late Tuesday that the local Marine Department and the Fire Services Department briefed the Ukrainian delegation on the accident and rescue operations on their arrival.
Roger Tupper, Hong Kong`s Director of Marine, assured Ukrainian delegation leader and Vice Minister of Transport and Communication Shevchenko Vasyl Vasylyovych that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government has done and will do its utmost.
Tupper said the HKSAR government would also help the Ukrainian follow up action.
Vasylyovych, thanked the HKSAR government for their assistance and the rescue officers for their efforts.
Ukrainian tugboat Neftegaz 67 collided with Yao Hai, a 150-meter freighter registered on the Chinese mainland, and sunk soon afterwards in the waters off the Lantau Island in Hong Kong at around 9:30 pm (1330 GMT) Saturday.
The Ukrainian tugboat was carrying 24 Ukrainians and one Chinese on board when the accident occurred. Rescue teams saved 6 Ukrainian sailors and the Chinese soon afterwards. The other 18 seamen were still missing and believed to be trapped inside the cabin of the tugboat, which capsized at the seabed about 35 meters underwater.
The Department of Marine was still investigating the cause of accident.
Frogmen had failed to find entry into the cabin of the sunken vessel. The salvage bureau of Guangzhou has said it would send a 4, 000-ton ship to help move the sunken tugboat to shallower waters so as to make diving efforts easier.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has called on his government to support the Chinese rescuers and the rescued sailors. The Ukrainian Ambassador to China also arrived in Hong Kong Monday to follow rescue efforts.