Five seafarers have been confirmed dead and a further six are still missing following the collision between a car carrier and a feeder boxship in the North Sea on Wednesday night.
Although the names of the dead had not been made public at the time of writing, the crew of 2007-built, 2,000 ceu Baltic Ace was thought to include nine Polish officers, two Polish able-bodied seafarers and two Ukrainian, one Bulgarian and 10 Filipino ratings.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that the other vessel involved recorded a deficiency with its main engine during a routine safety check in Belgium this summer, according to the Lloyd’s List Intelligence database.
Port state control inspectors in Antwerp judged the main engine on the 2003-built, 707 teu boxship Corvus J to be “not as required”, according to the summary made public by Europe-wide safety watchdog the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control.
Although the ship’s safety record is broadly satisfactory and the problems uncovered in August will almost certainly have been rectified immediately, the finding will constitute an obvious line of inquiry for officials investigating the accident.
Baltic Ace collided with Corvus J, which is owned by Germany’s Jüngerhans Reederei, at around 1815
hrs GMT, in a position some 25 to 30 miles outside Rotterdam. The vessel was carrying 1,415 vehicles, including 664 manufactured by Mitsubishi.
Thirteen of the 24 crew on the Bahamas-flagged Baltic Ace were rescued, according to Dutch news agency ANP and local police. Some were airlifted by helicopter from four liferafts and taken to local hospitals.
Baltic Ace was sailing from Zeebrugge in Belgium to Kotka in Finland and Cyprus-flagged Corvus J was en route from Grangemouth in Scotland to Antwerp, Belgium, according to Dutch media reports.