Thursday 10/28/21

Bad weather hampers attempt to pull unmanned Dutch cargo ship ashore

The fear is that the ship could sink and spill oil into the North Sea.
HANDOUT - 06 April 2021, Norway, Nordmeer: Dutch cargo ship Eemslift Hendrika, with around 350 tonnes of heavy oil and 50 tonnes of diesel on board, is seen drifting off the Norwegian coasts. Photo: -/Coast Guard Ship Sortland via NTB/dpa - ACHTUNG: Nur zur redaktionellen Verwendung und nur mit vollständiger Nennung des vorstehenden Credits
Dutch cargo ship Eemslift Hendrika is seen drifting off the Norwegian coasts. Photo: Coast Guard Ship Sortland/dpa.
A Dutch cargo ship that is adrift and in danger of capsizing in rough waters off Norway must remain at sea longer than hoped for after a tow operation was called off due to bad weather.

The operation to bring the Eemslift Hendrika freighter, which is without power and crew in the North Sea, to shore is being postponed to Thursday, the Norwegian Coastal Administration announced.

The fear is that the ship could sink and spill oil into the sea. It is carrying some 350 tons of heavy fuel oil and 50 tons of diesel.

However, life and health always have top priority in such operations, the administration said, and calculations showed the risk of the ship running aground were low. The weather should be better on Thursday.

Two tugboats had been sent out to the 112-metre-long vessel with the goal of pulling it ashore over the course of Wednesday.

Emergency personnel had also travelled to the vessel by helicopter to help attach the towlines, the administration said.

Rescue operation

The tugs were chartered from the Dutch salvage company Smit Salvage.

Smit Salvage is a subsidiary of the company Boskalis, which handled the salvage operation of the Ever Given in the Suez Canal.

The freighter issued a distress call on Monday after running into difficult weather in waves of up to 15 metres. Its cargo shifted, causing it to list.

The ship stabilized after the cargo was shifted back, but the 12-person crew was flown by helicopter to shore as a precaution.

The vessel then ran on autopilot but lost power on Monday evening.

By Tuesday evening, the freighter was about 40 to 50 nautical miles (74 to 93 kilometres) west of the town of Alesund on Norway's coast, according to the Coastal Administration.