Special Topics

South Korean ‘Stricken Ship’ Towed Away from France


A South Korean stricken ship was pulled away by the French maritime experts on Monday. The move came as the ship was heading towards the Atlantic Coast and raised the possibility of accident.

Panamanian-registered Modern Express was tied to a  Spanish tugboat and was turned towards the open sea, away from the coast, spokesman Louis-Xavier Renaux said.

Four maritime experts managed to tow the ship.

Due to unfavourable weather conditions, the rescue efforts could not be operated. A 164m tow line snapped in rough sea conditions. Three efforts were made to tow the ship on Saturday.

Dutch company SMIT Salvage, which specialises in rescue operations, used helicopter to rescue the crew. Around 22 crew members were evacuated from the heavily tilted ship.

“The difficulty is a combination of several things: the wind, the swell and the angle of the boat which is like climbing a mountain, but which is moving,” a spokesperson for SMIT Salvage told AFP over the weekend, in a report by Yahoo News.

The ship loaded with 3,600 tonnes of timber and digging machines was tilted at an angle around 50 degrees. It was harbouring to the port of Le Havre in Normandy, France from Gabon in West Africa.

The ship was 44 kilometres away from the coast, when authorities laid out the operation. The ship is expected to arrive at the port in Bilbao, according to a report filed by CNN.

“We are taking a great deal of care because the swell is still quite strong,” the official said.

According to French authorities, the ship was carrying 300 tonnes of fuel. In case of oil-spill, there would be less risk of pollution. Emergency efforts are in place if the ship runs aground.

In 2002, the Prestige oil tanker spilled over 50,000 tonnes of oil. The tanker submerged few kilometres away from Northern Spain coast causing heavy pollution up to thousand miles.

To Top