30 Dead, – Ship Sinking Deaths, MS Royal Pacific Mix, August 23, 1992,Time of Death 3:00-5:00.
MS Royal Pacific and a fishing trawler collided in the Straits of Malacca with 530 aboard. Passengers had only a few minutes to get off the sinking ship in the middle of the night. The ship sank two hours after being rammed. Of the 530 aboard, 70 were injured and 30 died, some bodies never found.
It was about 0300 hours when the Taiwanese fishing trawler, Terfu 51 rammed the cruise ship in poor visibility 12 miles south of Port Dickson, a Malaysian port about 50 miles south of Kuala Lumpur, the capital.
Had the crew taken the time to evacuate passengers, instead of only saving themselves, perhaps lives would not have been lost. Instead, sleeping passengers, dazed and confused in the darkness had to make their way to the upper decks and towards the lifeboats after the ship began taking on water through the 6 foot diameter hole in her hull.
Two cargo ships in the area picked up survivors to take them to Malaysia and Singapore.
The MS Empress Of Australia (not to be confused with the RMS Empress Of Australia) was a ferry which was operated by the Australian National Line.
She sailed in the Bass Strait between Melbourne, Victoria and Devonport, Tasmania until 1985. The ship had accommodation for 440 passengers and 90 cars.
She was replaced in 1985 by the Abel Tasman, also a car ferry. The ship was sold to Cypriot owners and heavily refitted and converted into a cruise ship, she was renamed MS Royal Pacific.