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Eleven People Missing After Ships Collide Off Hong Kong

MOL Motivator
The container ship MOL Motivator, seen in Vancouver, B.C., on July 31, 2013. Photographer: Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press/AP Photo

Eleven people are missing after a container ship collided with a much smaller vessel carrying cement off Hong Kong’s Po Toi Islands today.

The cement ship may have sunk after the 2:30 a.m. collision, according to Hong Kong’s marine department. China’s Guangdong provincial government sent vessels and helicopters for the search-and-rescue efforts, said Cai Zhuangbiao, a director at its marine department rescue center.

The ships crashed into each other about two nautical miles off the islands, and crew members from the smaller cement-carrying vessel remain missing, Hong Kong’s marine department said. The bigger ship, a container carrier called MOL Motivator, was on its way to China’s Shenzhen Yantian port from Hong Kong.

“We’re focusing on the search and rescue efforts,” and will conduct an investigation into the cause of the accident, Cai said over the phone.

The incident comes a month after a German container ship ran aground off the coast of Hong Kong. In 2012, 38 people were killed when a ferry collided with a boat carrying Chinese New Year revelers, the city’s worst maritime disaster since at least 1984. Shenzhen is the world’s third-busiest container port, followed by Hong Kong.

The container ship can carry 79,000 deadweight tons, and the cement ship has a capacity of 5,095 tons, Cai said.

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