The U.S. Coast Guard said on Tuesday that it was investigating the role of alcohol in a ship collision between a Dutch cargo ship and a Singapore-registered oil tanker off the Dutch coast earlier this month. The collision was one of three major incidents in one week on May 20 that led to the largest-ever rescue operation by the western Mediterranean Coast Guard, with the rescue of over 850 people.
The Dutch naval frigate Oslo responded to an emergency call from a Fortuna, a 1,052-meter Panamanian-flagged freighter, after it was reportedly involved in a collision with the Panama-registered oil tanker Formosa (no. 20). Within days of the incident, the Fortuna has been raised to uprightness, which the Dutch Navy said was due to a naval salvage company helping with the recovery of the “adversary vessel.” However, the United States Coast Guard said on Tuesday that it was following an independent investigation into the collision, and interviewing crew members aboard the Dutch Navy frigate as well as the Formosa.
From the June 23st Sentinel article: Coast Guard investigation of maritime accident in the Baltic Sea https://t.co/ccOldmlshZ pic.twitter.com/zumwF0Tvh0 — Coast Guard (@USCG) June 27, 2017
“We’re not sure yet what caused the collision. We’re still in the investigation phase, and we are asking questions,” Coast Guard Chief Superintendent Peter Lambert told The Sun. “We’re talking to the crew, but at this point we can’t say anything.”
The Formosa, which has suffered extensive damage to its port side, sustained only minor injuries, and three crew members sustained minor injuries. The Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad reported that some of the Fortuna’s crew called back to Amsterdam, and potentially the U.S. Coast Guard, a month before the incident, asking if they could return home early and returning without a Christmas or New Year’s party. They claimed to have been seeking to get out of Dutch waters, and to have been told by the executive of one of the Fortuna’s owners that there was a problem with the ship.
The Formosa was not carrying enough fuel, according to leaked information released by the owner of the tanker, MOL, which set an emergency alarm when it found out the Formosa had collided with it. The Formosa’s owner said it was liable for the leak of harmful fuel into the Baltic, as the ship owner had called the Netherlands’ Ministry of the Environment in time to notify them of the spill. The captain of the Formosa told the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad: “We were fighting for our lives, that is for sure. We just wanted to leave the scene. We had no time to defend the ship.”
We are involved in an onboard investigation of the ship #Fortuna collision. https://t.co/eQ0yEytOJP — USCGC Oslo (@USCGOslo) June 27, 2017
The Fortuna was working on a navigational chart, which it uses to navigate in Dutch waters, at the time of the collision.
Read the full story at The Sun.
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