Caribbean Collision [INCIDENT PHOTOS]

A general cargo ship was severely damaged early Saturday after being involved in a major collision with a reefer ship in the Caribbean Sea.

The collision occurred early Saturday between the 557-foot U.K-flagged M/V Seagate (pictured) and the 492-foot Liberian-flagged M/V Timor Stream off the northeast coast of Tortuga, Haiti.

Blindsided: The M/V Seagate, severely damaged after being struck by the bow of the Timor Stream. Photo: USCG

The M/V Seagate, a 28,836 dwt general cargo ship owned by Zodiac Maritime, was badly damaged in the collision and taking on water.  18 of its 21 crewmembers boarded life rafts while the remaining 3 stayed on the vessel for damage assessment.

Of the 18 crewmembers who boarded life rafts, 17 were later recovered by the Timor Stream, and one was recovered by a good-samaritan motor yacht.  Amazingly, no one was injured.

The captain of the M/V Seagate later reported the vessel was stable with just minimal water in the engine room. However, one of the fuel tanks was punctured in the collision sparking fears that approximately 4,000 gallons of lube oil onboard could be released.

An aerial view of the damage to the M/V Seagate. Luckily, no injuries were reported. Photo: USCG

The M/V Timor Stream, with an unknown number of personnel on board, suffered only “minimal damage” and also no injuries.  The vessel is owned operated by Geest Line, one of the premier shippers providing reefer service between the Caribbean and the UK and Europe.

The Liberian-flagged M/V Timor Stream, pictured here in this file photo, is owned by Seatrade and on charter to Geest Line.  Photo: Geest Line

The USCG’s 210-foot cutter Venturous, homeported in Florida, arrived on scene to assume the role of on-scene commander. A Coast Guard helicopter and airplane also responded to conduct overflight assessments.

“Our main focus now is to ensure the continued safety of the Seagate crew and to mitigate any further damage to the vessel or environment that may be caused by worsening weather,” said Cmdr. Troy Hosmer, Venturous’ commanding officer.

The Coast Guard Cutter Venturous on scene. Photo: USCG