Update: The salvage team has abandoned the Modern Express for the night after an attempt to establish a tow line was unsuccessful, Maritime Prefect Atlantic said in an update late Friday.
After reaching the bow of the car carrier, the salvors were able to attach a messenger line from a tug to the Modern Express, but the line parted due to the movement of the vessels. During the operation, one member of the salvage team suffered minor injuries. The team left the ship before nightfall.
In Pictures: The Amazing Race to Save the Modern Express
Earlier: A four-man team from SMIT Salvage was able to board the heavily listing Modern Express car carrier in the Bay of Biscay in an attempt to attach a tow line to the drifting vessel.
The latest update from France’s Maritime Prefect Atlantic said the vessel was located 150 nautical miles west of La Rochelle on Friday and drifting east at 1 knot.
Weather had previously prevented the salvage team from boarding the vessel, with waves of 4 to 5 meters.
The Panamanian-flagged Modern Express was transporting 3,600 ton of wood and construction equipment from Gabon, Africa to the port of Le Havre when it listed heavily in rough seas. All 22 crew members were evacuated safely by Spanish search and rescue helicopters.
On scene are two tugs contracted by the ship owner, Cido Shipping, the French emergency tug Abeille Bourbon and the French Navy frigate Primauguet. The AHTS Argonaute arrived with equipment on Friday.
The towing operation has been approved by French officials and could commence as soon as late Friday afternoon, officials said.
Full Coverage: Modern Express Adrift in Bay of Biscay
— Premar Atlantique (@premaratlant) January 29, 2016