THE master and 24 crew abandoned a dredger after it began taking in water west of Siu A Chau last night.
The crew of the 87-metre Hong Chun No 9 boarded three tugboats and a rescue vessel and were last night trying to save the dredger.
The master of the Hong Chun No 9, Mr Yuen Ah-hong, 40, said the vessel had arrived about a nautical mile west of Siu A Chau at 5.40 pm when he discovered the stern was taking in water. The master and his crew were rescued by tugboat Ko Wai No 1.
Two other tugboats and a rescue boat arrived at the scene in an effort to save the 2,159-tonne dredger, whose local agent is the Chun Wah Engineering Company.
Police reported a 11/2 mile oil slick heading towards Fan Lau on the tip of Lantau Island, the limit of Hongkong's territorial waters, and drifting towards Chinese waters.
Marine Police and the Marine Department are making separate investigations.