Ship sinks following North Sea collision

The car carrier Baltic Ace sank shortly after the collision on Wednesday evening The car carrier Baltic Ace sank shortly after the collision on Wednesday evening

Five crew of the car carrier Baltic Ace have died and six remain missing after the ship sank following a collision with the container ship Corvus J some 60 miles off Rotterdam on Wednesday evening.

Strong winds and heavy seas made rescue conditions difficult for the Royal Dutch Sea Rescue Organisation, which sent three lifeboats to join two naval vessels, one coast guard airplane and four helicopters in a search for those missing. The search resumed on Thursday morning but a  spokesperson for the Dutch coastguards said the chance of finding anyone else alive in the cold waters was “virtually zero”.

The 148m Baltic Ace was reportedly carrying 1,400 Mitsubishi cars from Zeebrugge to Kotka in Finland when it was in collision with the boxship Corvus J, which was sailing from Grangemouth in Scotland to Antwerp. The Baltic Ace sank shortly after the collision. The 134m Corvus J is damaged but not in danger of sinking. It left the scene after assisting with rescue operations.

The cause of the collision is not yet substantiated but managers of the Baltic Ace have suggested human error was involved.

The shipping lane where the accident occurred is one of the busiest in the North Sea. The incident took place outside territorial waters and jurisdiction to investigate the accident must now be established.

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