File photo of the car carrier “Baltic Ace” in the port of Bremerhaven, Germany

Update 3: Five bodies have been recovered and six are still missing in the North Sea.  AIS Data and damage photos of the Corvus J can be found here.

gCaptain’s FULL Coverage: Baltic Ace Sinking

Update 2: BBC has reported that the bodies of three crewmembers have been recovered and eight are still missing. Meanwhile the AP says that 4 bodies have been recovered, citing a Coast Guard official.

Update 1: Unofficial report from the scene…

“Car carrier has sunk, 13 crewmembers are rescued and brought to a nearby hospital. 11 still missing.. Two Dutch navy vessels, 2 helicopters and 2 SAR vessels from the KRNM are also searching for the rest of the crewmembers that are still 11 missing.”

We have been told that the car carrier sank quickly, possibly within 15 minutes.

Another unofficial report from the scene…

4 crew members have been brought to the Erasmus medical center in Rotterdam with mild wounds and hypothermia. 7 crewmembers were flown to Ostend in Belgium. 2 have been saved by the container vessel which collided with the car carrier and 11 are still unaccounted for. 3 helicopters, 2 navy vessels and several other vessels from the KNRM are searching. Also several merchant vessels are giving assistance in the search.

Original: A car carrier is sinking in the North Sea near Rotterdam after colliding with a containership Wednesday night.

The Bahamas-flagged car carrier Baltic Ace collided with the Cyprus-flagged containership Covus J after dark approximately 25 to 30 miles from Port of Rotterdam. The Baltic Ace is said to be sinking as a result of the collision and there may be as many as 24 crewmembers on board.

A rescue operation is currently underway. An unknown number of crew are being pulled from four life rafts by helicopter.

Reuters in the UK has reported that the Dutch coastguard said the Baltic Ace has “almost certainly has sunk.”

The Baltic Ace was en route from Zeebrugge in Belgium to Kotka, Finland. The Corcus J was en route from Grangemouth (UK) to Antwerp.

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  • Dave Pyett

    Have a look at where the lifeboats are on the car carrier. All seafarers will know that there is not a snowball’s chance in hell of ever launching that thing from the top of the superstructure when the ship is at sea, or rolling, or with a heel to one side. No doubt the liferafts are up there as well!

    Somebody, eg IMO, HAS to force shipowners and naval architects to stop placing the lifesaving appliances right up the top of the superstructure on car carriers…might cost a car space or two to put them near the waterline, but it would SAVE LIFE, which is what they are supposed to do!

    But that would get in the way of Owners’ profits!!!

    Pity the poor seafarers!

    • TR

      Some car carriers seem to have free-fall lifeboats. Perhaps they should be made mandatory for new PCC’s and PCTC’s, just like in bulk carriers?

      On the other hand, quite many new car carriers seem to have single skins below the waterline instead of side tanks – a dangerous combination with large open car decks! THAT is something that should perhaps be outlawed…

  • http://yahoo Dimitris pollatos

    Terrible. Attacks to our knowledge, as professionals and as mariners. Masters and mates. When such accidents occurred, in present days, while all the modern navigational aids are available to each ship. Requiescat for the lost sea colleagues.

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