Captain of German Ferry Facing Charges After Collision

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May 8, 2012

The captain of German ferry Nils Holgersson could be facing serious charges after local coast guard officials have ruled out that any technical malfunction caused his ferry to ram another passenger ferry in Luebeck, Germany last week.

Damage to the passenger ferry "Urd".

Authorities investigating the May 3 collision at the German Port of Travemünde are now pointing to human error on behalf of captain of the Nils Holgersson as the cause of the collision, saying he failed to set the proper thruster positioning when approaching the dock.

The passenger ferry on the receiving end of the collision, named the Urd, suffered severe damages but managed to escape without any injuries to its passengers or crew after getting t-boned by the Nils Holgersson. The Urd was moored at Pier 3 of the Scandinavian Quay in Travemünde when she was struck, puncturing two large holes on her starboard side both below the waterline and to her upper decks.

“The ship collided with the ferry, which was in port, almost at a right angle,” coast guard spokesman Karsten Dose told the Lübecker Nachrichten newspaper.

A number of vessel rushed in to assist the vessels and pump water from the Urd.

The Nils Holgersson suffered damage to her bulbous bow and bow. She is operated by TT-Line, a shipping company based in Lübeck, Germany providing direct ferry and freight service between Germany and Sweden.  Local reports have indicated that alcohol has likely been ruled out as a contributing factor. The captain could be facing charges of endangering shipping.

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