Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Container Ship Runs Aground Near Antwerp

The hull of a container ship carrying dangerous materials has been damaged after running aground in the Westerschelde inlet in the southwest of the Netherlands.
Although 127 of the 1,942 crates on 'De Fowairet' contain hazardous material there is no danger they will end up in the water, a spokesperson for a Belgian piloting service said. No chemicals have leaked into the water, but about 600 tonnes of diesel has been emptied into the inlet due to damage toi the ship's hull. Salvage workers are working to limit the damage. The ship was to be re-floated in the afternoon high tide, but fears have arisen the ship might break up. 'De Fowairet', which operates under the flag of Qatar, was on its way from London to Antwerp when it hit a sandbank due to a technical problem. The accident happened near Perkpolder in the Netherlands at 4.45am. Perkpolder is located near Antwerp. All shipping through the Westerschelde was suspended after the accident. The Westerschelde links Antwerp, Belgium's busiest harbour, with the North Sea. The vital waterway cuts through Dutch territory.
An aerial view shows the Qatari-registered cargo ship Fowairet, after it ran onto a sand reef, in the North Sea between Britain and Belgium. The ship transporting 1942 containers is waiting for low tide to be towed.

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