Saturday, January 13, 2007

Freighter Crew Evacuated Off Western Norway

Rescue officials evacuated the 25-member crew of a Cyprus-registered freighter that ran aground off western Norway, said a spokeswoman for the southern Norwegian Joint Rescue Coordination Centre based in Stavanger. A few hours after the crew members were ferried to safety, the 180-metre long Cyprus-registered vessel Server broke into two sections. The vessel was estimated to be carrying 650 tons of fuel oil. The coast guard and local authorities said they feared the effects of an oil spill.The vessel ran aground around 6:30 pm (1730 GMT) and took in water due to a hole in the hull near the engine room, spokeswoman Borghild Eldoen earlier said. None of the crew were injured and were flown by helicopter to a nearby island, north of the west coast city of Bergen. Strong winds and heavy seas along with poor visibility - due to the late hour - hampered efforts to contain the oil spill. The ship was headed for Murmansk in northern Russia and was not transporting any cargo when it ran aground.

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