Thursday, December 6, 2012

collision at North Sea - Baltic Ace sinks; Corvus J damaged


In a sad development, 4  crew members died and seven are feared missing in the icy waters of the North Sea, after a cargo ship collided with another vessel and sank off the Dutch coast Wednesday night,  according to BBC.  The North Sea off  the Atlantic Ocean is located between Great Britain, Scandinavia, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. The North Sea has long been the site of important European shipping lanes as well as a major fishery. The sea is a popular destination for recreation and tourism in bordering countries.

It is reported that the 148-meter (485-foot) Baltic Ace collided with the 134-meter (440-foot) container ship Corvus J in darkness near busy shipping lanes some 65 kilometers (40 miles) off the coast of the southern Netherlands. The Baltic Ace, carrying a cargo of cars, had a crew of 24 which was forced to abandon ship as it sank quickly.  It is also reported that the chances of survival of the missing crew was shrinking as more time passed by.  The Dutch Defense Ministry said in a statement two navy patrol ships were aiding the search. "Helicopters are trying, in (strong wind) and high waves to bring the people to safety," the ministry said. They further stated that the 12-man crew of the Corvus J was still on board the ship, which was helping in the rescue operation. Details of its cargo were not immediately available. "It is badly damaged, but not in danger of sinking," is the news about the cargo ship -  Corvus J.

The coast guard spokesman said the cause of the collision was not known. "At the moment we are solely focused on getting the people to safety," he said. The Baltic Ace, sailing under a Bahamas flag, was heading from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge to Kotka in Finland, and the Cyprus-registered Corvus J was on its way from Grangemouth in Scotland to Antwerp, Belgium. Baltic Ace was built by Stocznia Gdynia in Poland, and had been in service since 2007. She had eight fully enclosed cargo decks with a total capacity of 2,132 cars and a stern quarter ramp for loading and unloading vehicles.  Calling ports in the Baltic Sea regularly, the Baltic Ace was strengthened for navigation in ice and held a Finnish-Swedish ice class 1A. She was classified by Det Norske Veritas.

It was on 5 December 2012 that Baltic Ace collided with a Cyprus-registered container ship Corvus J in the North Sea while underway with a cargo of cars from Zeebrugge, Belgium, to Kotka, Finland. Following the collision, the Baltic Ace began taking on water and later sank in shallow water. The container ship was said to be severely damaged but not in danger of sinking. The incident resembles that of Tricolor, a Norwegian-flagged car carrier that sank in shallow water in the English Channelfollowing a collision on 14 December 2002.


Photo of the vessel courtesy :  http://www.fleetmon.com/en/vessels/Baltic_Ace_28115

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
6th Dec 2012.

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