The outlook for seafarers missing from the sunken car carrier Baltic Ace is looking increasingly bleak.
There are four confirmed deaths as a result of a collision between the 2,000-car-capacity Baltic Ace (built 2007) and the 707-teu Corvus J (built 2007) in the North Sea off the Netherlands.
Baltic Ace was on a 17-day charter to Oslo-based United European Car Carriers (UECC) from Euro Marine Logistics of Belgium, but the ultimate owner is Baltic Highway Ltd a company believed to be part of the Ray Car Carriers group.
The vessel was carrying a cargo to 1,417 new cars on a voyage from Zeebrugge to Kotka at the time.
UECC chief executive Craig Jasienski said his company was a commercial charterer not responsible for the navigation, crewing or the incident.
“This is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts are with the crew and their families and friends,” he added.
The cause of the collision is not known but the casualty highlights the risk in congested areas such as the waters around the English Channel.
A search operation is underway off the Dutch coast but hopes of finding any of the crew missing from the Baltic Ace are not good.
The Corvus J is reported to be seriously damaged but all crew are safe.
The hull insurance of the Baltic Ace is led by Stephen Catlin’s syndicate 2003, the largest underwriter at Lloyd’s, while the protection and indemnity cover is with the North of England Club.
Corvus J, part of the fleet of Jungerhans Maritime Services of Germany, has P&I cover from Gard.