A Greek bulker suffered major damage in a collision involving a huge Zodiac Maritime containership off Malaysia.

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) photographs show the 76,000-dwt panamax Galapagos (built 2010), owned by George Procopiou's Sea Traders, with a chunk out of its starboard hull and a mangled cargo hatch.

The clash with the 14,952-teu Zephyr Lumos (built 2021) happened on Sunday, 14 miles (22.5 km) south-west of the Sungai Muar estuary.

Johor MMEA director First Admiral Nurul Hizam Zakaria said the Galapagos was reported to have experienced steering system failure, causing it to move to the right and block the route of the container vessel, which could not avoid the dry cargo ship.

But manager Sea Traders denied these claims.

The company told TradeWinds the Zephyr Lumos "came very close to Galapagos and attempted to overtake the vessel at high speed and at a short distance, leading to a collision".

Sea Traders added that the Malaysian claims "are not correct. The steering gear and all related equipment was in good operating order."

The company said that at 1250 GMT, the Galapagos master reported a collision while the vessel was laden en route to Vizag from Singapore.

The company reported structural damage to the hull, but no injuries and no oil pollution.

All 23 crew are in good health.

"The company has activated its emergency response plan, mobilised equipment and personnel to assess and address the incident and has notified all appropriate state and federal agencies," Sea Traders added.

"The company is working with authorities, federal/state agencies under an approved plan, to investigate the case."

Heading to Suez Canal

An oily sheen is seen in Malaysian waters after the Galapagos and the Zephyr Lumos collided off Sungai Muar. Photo: Malaysia Coast Guard

The Zephyr Lumos, which suffered minimal damage, was en route to the Suez Canal.

"Early investigations by the Johor MMEA showed some damage to the Galapagos as well as some oil spillage," Zakaria said.

"Both ships have been detained to assist in investigations by the Marine Department and the Environment Department," he added.

The MMEA sent vessels to the scene after receiving an emergency call.

"We received an emergency signal from the Zephyr Lumos, while the emergency signal from the Galapagos was received through the Indonesian National Search and Relief Agency (Basarnas) in Pekan Baru," the First Admiral said.

A Zodiac Maritime spokesperson said: "We can confirm that the container vessel Zephyr Lumos was involved in a collision in the Malacca Straits on 10 July. There were no injuries to any crew on either vessel and there is no known pollution from the Zephyr Lumos."

The spokesperson added the crew, the cargo and the vessel are all safe and the situation is under control, with both ships safely anchored in port in Malaysia under their own power.

"The managers are liaising with the relevant authorities," the spokesperson said.

The Galapagos is insured through the North of England P&I club and VesselsValue assesses it is worth $17m.

The bulker has no port state control detentions on its record.

Sea Traders has been contacted for further information.