Container ship collides with bulker in Strait of Malacca
MUAR (16 July 2021) – On 11 July, just past midnight, the Malaysian Coast Guard received a distress call from Zephyr Lumos, a shipping container transport vessel, after it had collided with the Galapagos, a bulk carrier merchant ship, off the port of Muar in the Strait of Malacca.
The Malaysian Coast Guard received the distress call from Zephyr Lumos just three minutes after midnight while a second call from the badly damaged Galapagos came in via the Indonesian National Search and Relief Agency (Basarnas) requesting Malaysian Navy assets to reach the scene quickly.
According to Admiral Nurul Hizam Zakaria, head of the Johor Malaysian Coast Guard Agency, the Zephyr Lumos had struck the Galapagos on the starboard side amidships, cutting a deep gash into her hull.
“The initial inquiry suggests a possible failure of the Galapagos’ steering system, causing her to veer in front of Zephry Lumos. The Malta-registered MV Galapagos was reported to be experiencing a steering system failure, forcing it to move to the right (starboard) as the UK-registered Zephry Lumos was overtaking it,” Nurul Hizam said.
In a statement to maritime media, the owner of the Galapagos had denied a steering failure and further accused Zephyr Lumos of attempting an unsafe overtaking manoeuvre.
Further reports conclude that no seafarers were injured, but the agency did report a spill and imagery taken just after sunrise showed a sheen on the water. The case is currently being investigated by the Malaysian Marine Department and the Department of Environment while both vessels are being detained pending the outcome.