Singapore Navy Officers Fined for Collision During Anti-Sub Patrol
Singapore April 4, 2004 (TT) - Two Singapore Navy officers convicted of negligence after their ship was in collision with a Dutch container vessel, killing four servicewomen, were fined up to S$10,000 ($6,000) by a Singapore court but spared jail terms.
The January 2003 collision between the 452-tonne anti-submarine patrol ship Courageous and the 52,000-tonne Dutch-registered ANL Indonesia near Pedra Branca island in the eastern Singapore Straits was the city state's worst naval accident.
Trainee officer Chua Chue Teng, 24, who had control of the warship in the events leading up to the collision was fined S$8,000. Her supervisor, Lieutenant Ng Keng Yong, 28, was fined the maximum S$10,000.
A Singapore district judge had found the pair guilty of committing a negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide by navigating the Courageous in an unsafe manner across the path of the merchant vessel to collide and cause the deaths of four naval personnel.
The four dead women are believed to have been asleep when the accident occurred. Three bodies were recovered, the fourth was never found. The judge said on Friday the two officers had made "an isolated error of judgment, rather than sustained and recurrent negligence over a period of time." He said the two could not be blamed entirely as crew aboard the ANL Indonesia had also been negligent. ($1=1.671 Singapore Dollar)