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Unpowered freighter off Norway: "Eemslift Hendrika" secured


A freighter abandoned by the crew drifted off the Norwegian coast for several days. Now the all-clear: tugs have put the 112-meter-long ship on a leash.

Enlarge image

Recovery team on the Dutch freighter "Eemslift Hendrika"

Photo: Kystvakten / dpa

During the night, special forces secured an abandoned cargo ship that was drifting without a drive in the North Sea.

The "Eemslift Hendrika" is now being towed into the port of the Norwegian city of Ålesund.

Rescue teams managed to get on board and connect the ship with two tugs, said the Norwegian coast administration.

Previously, in view of the bad weather, it was feared that the 112-meter-long ship of the Dutch shipping company Amasus Shipping with 350 tons of heavy fuel oil and 50 tons of diesel on board could run aground - and pollute natural areas in the area.

The ship was en route from Bremerhaven to Kolvereid on the Norwegian coast.

It had been listed on Easter Monday in bad weather and heavy swell after parts of the freight had shifted.

The crew set off an emergency signal and was taken off board by helicopter on Monday.

The ship initially ran under autopilot until the machine broke down late on Monday evening.

Originally, the "Eemslift Hendrika" was supposed to be taken out of its precarious position on Wednesday.

Due to bad weather, the action was initially postponed to Thursday.

Then, however, the conditions changed in the afternoon and evening, according to the coast administration.

The authorities worried that the freighter might not drift along the route calculated beforehand - and yet they started another rescue attempt.

At that time, the ship was reportedly drifting around ten nautical miles (18.5 kilometers) from the coast.

According to the coast administration, that meant it could drift onto land in about eight hours.

Connected to two tugs

At the same time, the emergency services prepared for the worst scenario that the "Eemslift Hendrika" could run aground.

Resources to tackle oil spills have been mobilized.

There are particularly vulnerable natural areas in the region and they do not want them to be exposed to oil pollution, said readiness director Hans-Petter Mortensholm.

In the course of Wednesday evening it was actually possible to bring the crew of the Dutch rescue company Smit Salvage and a rescuer from a helicopter on board the "Eemslift Hendrika".

According to the coast administration, they managed to connect the ship to two tugs - both at the bow and at the stern of the ship.

This averted the risk of touching the ground, it said.

The ship is now being towed to Ålesund via Breisundet.

The Norwegian Coast Guard maintain the emergency readiness until the ship has docked safely.

wit / dpa

Source: spiegel

All life articles on 2021-04-08

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