Three dead as cargo ship sinks off Dutch coast

AMSTERDAM Wed Dec 5, 2012 11:34pm GMT

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - At least three crew members died when a cargo ship carrying cars sank after colliding with a container ship in the North Sea on Wednesday night, Dutch coastguards and media reports said.

The coastguards mounted an air-and-sea rescue operation after the Baltic Ace, a car carrier sailing under a Bahamas flag, collided with the Corvus J, a container ship from Cyprus, off Rotterdam port, coastguard spokesman Peter Verburg said.

Dutch news agency ANP, citing police, reported that 13 of the 24 crew from the Baltic Ace had been rescued and taken to hospital for treatment, while at least three were dead.

Verburg said some members of the crew were found on four life rafts and were lifted to safety by helicopters near the scene of the collision.

The accident occurred about 40-50 km (25-30 miles) off Rotterdam port in an important North Sea shipping lane.

The cause of the collision was not immediately established, but the British Met Office had predicted gale-force winds and rain in the area.

The Baltic Ace was en route from Zeebrugge in Belgium to Kotka in Finland, while the Corvus J was going from Grangemouth in Scotland to Antwerp, Belgium, Dutch media reported.

Operations at Rotterdam Port were not affected by the collision, a port spokesman told Reuters. Rotterdam is Europe's biggest port and handles commodities and manufactured goods.

"It doesn't have any consequences for the port, it is far away from the entrance to the port," spokesman Sjaak Poppe said.

(Reporting by Anthony Deutsch and Sara Webb; Editing by Michael Roddy)

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Comments (2)
Raymond.Vermont wrote:
How the hell did two large ships get into such close proximity of one another in this day and age?

Lets hope the crew get a damn good shot of Navy Rum.

Dec 05, 2012 8:56pm GMT  --  Report as abuse
SRobinson1 wrote:
Will be interesting to find out what happened here, one of the fundamental rules of the sea is not to have a collision, hence the introduction of the IRPCS (International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea). Both vessels Masters will be held accountable for this collision; as both failed to comply with Rules 7 & 8 of IRPCS. Also, the OOW on watch at the time will be quizzed on why they have not assessed that a risk of collision exists, either visually or by radar. These are fundemental mistakes made by those Officers who should know the regulations inside out. As a British MN Officer I always hate to read about the loss of life involved in these situations, and it should be a wake up call to the maritime industry, especially the flag states and the IMO to implment new regulations into the testing and revalidation of all MN Officers to reduce this risk

Dec 05, 2012 12:30am GMT  --  Report as abuse
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