Originally published in mirror.co.uk, 2010/10/08
All 13 crewmen from a chemical product tanker were safely rescued today after they abandoned ship in the English Channel following a collision with a cargo vessel.
The tanker, the Maltese-registered Uranus, was believed to be carrying 6,000 tonnes of solvent.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said that although the vessel was listing heavily it had not sunk and there was no sign of pollution from the incident off the coast of Brittany in north-west France.
An MCA spokesman said: “We have spoken to French coastguards who told us that the 13 people on the Uranus abandoned ship after the collision, which was at 4.27am UK time.
“After taking to lifeboats, they were picked up by a French helicopter and taken to Lanveoc Poulmic, which is south of the port of Brest.”
The MCA spokesman continued: “The other vessel involved was the Hanjin Rizhao, which was carrying steel.
“We understand that the Uranus is listing heavily to port but not sinking and there is no sign of pollution. A French frigate and a tug are on the scene. As far as we know, no one has been hurt.”
The owner of the Uranus is V.Ships, an international company which supplies ship management services to a fleet of more than 1,000 vessels. Its worldwide offices include one in Glasgow.
The 6,970-tonne Uranus, heading for Amsterdam from the Italian port of Porto Marghera, was carrying heavy pygas – a type of gasoline.
The Panamanian-flagged, 179,000-tonne Hanjin Rizhao was heading for Rotterdam.
Pat Adamson, a spokesman for V Ships, which is responsible for the technical management and crewing of the Uranus, said a French tug, Abeille Bourbon, is towing the Uranus “slowly south” to the port of Brest.
He said the crew of the stricken vessel was made up of six Filipinos, five Russians, one Bulgarian and one Latvian.
Mr Adamson, speaking from V Ships’ London office, went on: “The vessel is no longer taking on water and everyone aboard is safe and uninjured. The Uranus was struck in the stern.”