Friday, August 26, 2005

Ship Sinks Off Dutch Coast

A freighter collided with another vessel in a busy shipping lane off the Dutch coast today and sank, a coast guard spokesman said. No one was injured, and the cause of the collision was not known, said Peter van Oorschot. He said seven crew members on the ship that sank, the Michelle, reached the other vessel, the Kiefarenwald, on a lifeboat. The nationality of the boats’ crews were not known, Van Oorschot said, but both sailed under the flag of Antigua and Barbuda. Dutch NOS news reported the crew of the Michelle were Germans. Van Oorschot said several rescue boats were dispatched the site of the accident, around 60 miles north-west of the Dutch coastal city of Den Helder. One of the rescue ships was taking the Michelle’s crew back to shore, while another distributed buoys marking the site of accident, which occurred in a busy shipping lane. The bow of the Michelle remained above water, Van Oorschot said. He said clean-up boats were travelling to the spot because of fears several oil containers on board the Michelle had broken and were leaking. The Kiefarenwald was travelling to the German port of Cuxhaven to examine the extent of damage from the collision, including a tear in its hull below the waterline. However, the ship was not in danger of sinking, Van Oorschot said. The Michelle was travelling from Brixham, England, to Riga, Latvia, while the Kiefarenwald was travelling from Poland to Ireland, carrying coal, he said.

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