Thursday, December 6, 2012

Container Ship and RoRo Car Carrier Collide - Several Dead

Freezing Conditions Leave Little Hope for Eight Missing Crew
Shipping News Feature

NORTH SEA – It is feared as many as eleven crew members have died following a collision between two ships about forty miles from the Dutch coast yesterday. The 134 metre long, Cypriot flagged, 630 TEU container feeder vessel Corvus J, operated by BG Freight Line, Rotterdam, a subsidiary of the Peel Ports group, was in collision with the Bahamian registered, 148 metre RoRo car carrier Baltic Ace which was en route with a consignment of vehicles from Belgium to Finland.

The Baltic Ace quickly sank and whilst thirteen of the crew were rescued the subsequent search recovered three bodies with eight more seafarers still missing when the search was called off in freezing conditions. It is believed another attempt to find the men will be made this morning at first light. Rescuers employed a helicopter using infra red detection equipment in the attempts to locate the missing crew members in addition to two other helicopters, naval vessels and the container ship involved in the incident.

The Corvus J is believed in no danger of sinking despite suffering serious damage. She was making her way between Belgium and Scotland when the collision occurred and, as yet, there is no indication as to why the two ships collided. The 7,787 dwt Baltic Ace had been specially strengthened for sailing in ice and has handled shipments for MOL whilst she appears to be owned by an Isle of Man registered company, Baltic Highway Ltd, and operated by the Greek agency Stamco Ship Management.

The crew rescued from the water are all being treated either in hospital or on board the vessel which rescued them. In the current weather conditions there is little hope that any of the eight missing crew will be found alive.