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Ship carrying 4,000 cars sinks off Singapore

/ Source: The Associated Press

A ship carrying 4,000 South Korean cars sank after colliding with an oil tanker just south of Singapore, authorities said Sunday.

The collision between car carrier MV Hyundai No. 105 and the tanker MT Kaminesan, carrying 279,949 tons of crude oil, occurred just before midnight Saturday, the Maritime and Ports Authority of Singapore said.

The four Korean and 16 Filipino crew members on board the car carrier were rescued before it sank, Ports Authority spokeswoman Theresa Pong said.

A hole measuring 165 feet by 66 feet sank the vessel, Pong said.

In Seoul, South Korea, a spokesman for carmaker Hyundai said the ship was carrying both Hyundai and Kia cars. He said the company was still gathering information about the accident.

There was no immediate leak of oil from the Panama-registered Kaminesan, Pong said.

The oil tanker was being towed into Singapore's port for damage assessment. Its 26 crew -- six Japanese and 20 Filipinos -- remained on the vessel, she said.

Hidenori Onuki, spokesman for Tokyo-based Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, which operates the Kaminesan, said the collision caused water to enter a ballast water tank near the front of the ship. But he said the area affected was small and the ship was able to sail on its own.

He said there was no oil leakage and no reports of injuries.

The cause of the accident, which occurred four miles southeast of the resort island of Sentosa, was being investigated, officials said.

"Prior to the collision, warnings were given to the two vessels by the MPA's vessel traffic information service. The two vessels also communicated with each other," the Maritime and Ports Authority said in a statement.

Pong said both ships were transiting through the city-state, one of the world's busiest ports.