Drifting Dutch freighter after dramatic rescue could turn into environmental incident – 06/04/2021 – Worldwide

A Dutch freighter, with its engine broken in dramatic circumstances, floated adrift on Tuesday (6) off the coast of Norway, maritime authorities said.

Eemslift Hendrika, which suffered a steep slope after a storm displaced part of its cargo, issued a distress call around noon on Monday (5). The 12 crew members were rescued by the Norwegian rescue services during two different operations: the first eight were rescued by helicopter and the other four had to jump into the water.

Engine broken, the Eemslift Hendrika continued to drift towards the Norwegian coast. This Tuesday morning, it was about 130 km northwest of the port city of Alesund.

The authorities fear that a possible wreck could cause an oil spill, since the ship takes 350,000 liters of fuel oil, 75,000 diesel and 10,000 lubricating oil.

The wind should gradually move the ship on a course parallel to the coast, which will give the rescue operation more time, Hans Petter Mortensholm of the Norwegian Coastal Administration told Reuters. “Our calculations indicate a window of opportunity for action, which lasts until just after noon on Wednesday,” he said. “The risk of pollution is our main concern.”

Smit Salvage, a subsidiary of Dutch maritime services company Boskalis, said she was hired to try to save the ship and is mobilizing a team to be sent to Norway on Tuesday.

If safe conditions exist, Smit will attempt to put his own crew aboard the Hendrika and connect the ship to a powerful tug built to move platforms for the oil industry. “Putting it on a tow rope and somewhere quieter is the goal,” said Smit Salvage spokesman Martijn Schuttevaer.

A Norwegian Coast Guard vessel is waiting in the area and can also be used for towing, the coast administration said. Built in 2015 and registered in the Netherlands, the 111.6-meter Eemslift Hendrika is a freighter that also carries smaller boats on its deck, according to Starclass Yacht Transport of Monaco, which markets the ship’s services.

One of the smaller boats attached to the bridge crashed in the storm.

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