Update: Authorities in France have granted a place a refuge for the wreck of the Britannica HAV at the port of Le Havre. The wreck is currently under tow at about 3 knots and is expected to arrive in port on Thursday afternoon.
Earlier: The overturned hull of the Britannica HAV is under tow as authorities try to limit the hazard to navigation in the English Channel’s busy shipping lanes.
As gCaptain reported yesterday, the 82-meter Britannica HAV capsized after it collided with a fishing vessel in the English Channel approximately 50 nautical miles northeast of Cherbourg, France on Tuesday afternoon. All seven crew members of the cargo ship abandoned ship into a liferaft and were picked up by the fishing vessel.
According to French authorities, the emergency tug Abeille Liberté now has the hull undertow in an effort to move the hazard away from shipping lanes as weather starts to deteriorate in the English Channel and North Sea.
In order to connect to the vessel, the Abeille Liberté passed the tow line through the bow thruster tunnel, a rather atypical technical solution to get the wreck out of harm’s way. Yesterday, authorities said a tow of the vessel was not possible.
Overnight, rescue crews attached a GPS tracking device onto the wreck and four 15-by-20-foot bilge boards that were lost from the Britannica HAV in the collision.
French officials said the Maltese-flagged cargo ship sustained damage on its port side at its center when it collided the
Belgian-flagged Deborah on Tuesday afternoon, causing the cargo ship to capsize.
The Britannica HAV reported carrying a cargo of 1,955 tonnes of steel and 48 tons of light diesel fuel on board.
A slight sheen was spotted in the water surrounding the wreck on Tuesday, however, officials say no additional pollution has been observed.
An exclusion zone of 500 meters has been put in place around the convoy.
The British-flagged THV Galatea, a buoy-laying vessel, has joined in on the on-scene response effort.
All seven crew members of the Britannica HAV have been transferred to land. No major injuries have been reported.
The following photos provided by the website Ship-Hunters.be show the damage to the FV Deborah as it pulled into Zeebrugge.