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Overturned Cargo Ship in Tow in the English Channel

Overturned Cargo Ship in Tow in the English Channel
Eric Haun March 21, 2018

The Maltese flagged cargo ship Britannica Hav capsized after it was involved in a collision Tuesday with Belgian flagged fishing vessel Deborah about 50 nautical miles northeast of Cherbourg, France.

The freighter’s seven crew members evacuated the ship aboard two life rafts and were recovered by Deborah. The only reported injury was to the fishing vessel’s captain, who suffered a non-severe head injury and did not wish to be evacuated.

Rescue tug Abeille Liberté has the hull of 82-meter-long Britannica Hav under tow while French authorities are tracking four 15-by-20-foot bilge panels that broke loose in the collision and are adrift.

Authorities initially reported a tow was not possible, but the crew of Abeille Liberté managed to implement an “atypical technical solution” that involved passing a towline through the Britannica Hav’s bow thruster tunnel.

A slight sheen has been observed around the overturned vessel, which is reported to have 48 tons of light diesel fuel on board. Drift models indicate a limited spread of diesel around the hull.

Britannica Hav was transporting a 1,955 MT cargo of steel at the time of the incident.

British tug Galatea and two tugs chartered by the ship owner are also on scene.