View Full Version : Race to stop eco-disaster in the English Channel

Dec 15th, 2002, 04:07 PM
Coastguards said severe fog was making it extremely difficult to undertake any salvage or anti-pollution work

Race to stop eco-disaster
11.25AM GMT, 15 Dec 2002

A race against time is underway in the English Channel to prevent environmental devastation, after a ship sank following a collision with another vessel.

Strong winds and thick fog are hampering the salvage operation as the crews of both vessels involved are being questioned by investigators.

The Tricolor, a Norwegian-registered car carrier, had 30 million worth of luxury cars - 2862 BMWs, Volvos and Saabs on board bound for British and US showrooms when it sank.

It collided with a container ship in bad weather 30 miles east of Ramsgate, Kent.

The crew of 24 scrambled into lifeboats as the 50,000-ton, 200-metre ship went down within 90 minutes of the collision at 1.30am.

The men were taken to Dunkirk but were not thought to be injured.

Per Ronnevig, spokesman for the carrier's owner Wilhelmsen Lines, said the Tricolor had picked up its cargo in Zeebrugge, Belgium, and was on its way to Southampton to unload some of the cargo, before continuing on its journey to the US.

Also on board the Tricolor were 77 other cargo units, which mainly consisted of tractors and crane parts.

The ship itself was estimated to be worth 25.1 million with the cargo valued at between 25m and 31m.

A spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said counter pollution teams were on their way to the scene with equipment designed to minimise environmental damage from the 2000 tons of fuel oil on board.

But the severe fog was making it extremely difficult to undertake any salvage or anti-pollution work, he said.

"The problem is the fog hasn't let up and it's still very thick there. That's making it incredibly difficult, particularly in the failing light, to pick up anything from the surface," he said.

The spokesman said without knowing what was possible to recover from the sea surface it was impossible to tell what could be done for the ship and cargo underwater.

The owners have appointed the highly regarded Dutch company Smit Tak as salvage agents for the operation and a Belgian warship, the Wandelaar, was acting as on-scene co-ordinator for the French Coastguard.

The container ship Kariba, which was said to be severely damaged in the collision, is a 175-metre, 20,829-ton cargo vessel.

The Kariba was carrying containers and was on its way from Antwerp to Le Havre, in France. After the incident it was limping back to Antwerp for damage inspection.

The pollution experts were hoping to erect a barrier around the wreck but this operation and the investigation into the accident were both stalled by the fog.

Shipping in the area, though, was expected to continue as normal, the French Coastguard said.

Dec 15th, 2002, 10:03 PM
This is sad. :(

Dec 16th, 2002, 01:22 AM

Sam L
Dec 16th, 2002, 07:59 AM
It's terrible as if one is not enough :(

Where are all these companies that are actually responsible for these accidents? They just disappear off the face of the Earth.

Dec 16th, 2002, 08:15 AM
There isn't that much oil leakage. It's not an oil tanker, the ship was transporting luxury cars. I think they've got the oil leakage under control. The problem is that the owner of the ship may decide to leave the ship there because both the ship and the cargo are lost anyway. It's the busiest sea route in the world, the ship is blocking it. So the ship will be lifted, who'll pay for it is not yet certain, it might take some time though.

Dec 16th, 2002, 09:04 AM
and ta-dam, another ship hit the sunken ship


Ship collides with Channel wreck

A cargo ship has struck the sunken vessel that went down in the English Channel on Saturday carrying a 30m load of luxury cars.
The Nicola, a 3,000 tonne ship registered in the Dutch Antilles, hit the Norwegian Tricolor between 0200 and 0300 GMT on Monday.

The wreck had been in shallow waters 30 miles (48.3km) east of Ramsgate, Kent, since a collision with another vessel in thick fog on Saturday.

Salvage experts had been battling with bad weather to retrieve the sunken car carrier and were hoping to start pumping fuel from the vessel.

Shipping lane

Fog over the weekend prevented divers going down to examine the wreck of the 55-000 ton Tricolor, which was carrying nearly 3,000 Volvos, Saabs and BMWs when it sank.

The Norwegian owners had been under immense pressure to move the ship, which is lying just below the surface of the water in the middle of one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

Dutch salvage team Smit Tak had positioned beacons around the site to warn other vessels of the hazard, but these still failed to prevent a collision.

The Tricolor sank after a collision with a cargo freighter named the Kariba.

No-one was injured and a rescue team quickly retrieved the 24-member crew and took them to safety.

The value of the cargo on board is put at 30m, and the Tricolor itself is worth about 25m.

Sam L
Dec 16th, 2002, 09:53 AM
Well they can't just leave it there, thank god.

Who's going to pay? Taxpayers? :mad:

These companies have just got to held responsible, they're getting away with it too much.

But then when you come down hard on them they threaten with retrenchments and job cuts. Governments back off. You can't win can you?

Dec 16th, 2002, 10:45 AM
the Nicola following the Tricolor :eek:

whats next ????
I hope the 2nd ship wasn't carrying wheel clamps ;)

Dec 16th, 2002, 12:47 PM
WHEN WILL THIS END?????????????? The PRESTIGE disaster was horrible and this is just adding insult to injury!

Dec 16th, 2002, 01:06 PM
The second ship wasn't loaded, thank goodness. Otherwise it could have been severely damaged.

And you can't compare this to the Prestige accident. The accident with the Prestige happened because the ship was old, not well maintained, etc. That was the company's fault.

This accident with the tricolor happened because of the fog. Just like you have car crashes, ships can crash too.

Dec 16th, 2002, 02:37 PM
Still, it's no excuse for these type of maritine accidents to occur. There should be more vigilance on the high seas given recent incidents.

Dec 16th, 2002, 02:39 PM
No matter how much vigilance, you can never prevent accidents from happening, you can reduce the number of accidents but that's it. Cars and planes will keep crashing, trains will derail.

Dec 16th, 2002, 08:39 PM
Cargo jam in English Channel
Tuesday 17 December 2002, 06:05AM

A sunken Norwegian container ship lying with its cargo of new cars in the middle of the English Channel was hit by a second ship within 48 hours of going down, underscoring the urgency of removing it from one of the world's busiest sea lanes.

The Nicola, a Dutch Antilles-registered ship bound for Rotterdam, was moving north through the channel at around 2am (1200 AEDT) when it crashed into the Norwegian car-carrier the Tricolor, which has been lying in 30 metres of water since early Saturday.

Tugboats despatched to the scene were able to pull the Nicola clear at first light and it appeared to have suffered no serious damage, but the accident was an unexpectedly rapid reminder of the hazard to shipping in the world's busiest sea-lane.

More than 400 vessels - many carrying dangerous substances - pass through the 30km-wide strait every day, crossing the path of around 100 other ships, mainly ferries, connecting France and Belgium with the southern English ports.

As a result, French coast guard vessels will be joined by British and Belgian ships in move to step up surveillance of the site and warn off other ships, French maritime officials said today.

"A number of French vessels are already being used to help Spain in the fight against oil pollution, so this operation ... will be assisted by international cooperation between neighbouring states: France, Britain and Belgium," the French Maritime Authority said in a statement.

This operation "would allow for the increase of coastguard ships in charge of maritime safety in this very busy sea-lane and also benefit from surveillance flights being carried out to detect any pollution," the authority said.

The Tricolor, a 50,000-tonne Norwegian car-carrier, keeled over after being hit by another ship, the Kariba, in thick fog in the early hours of Saturday, and so far bad weather has hampered attempts to survey the wreck and offload its 2,000 tonnes of fuel.

"We are hostages to the weather. We can't send divers down to inspect the wreck in current conditions," Per Roennevig, spokesman for owners Wilhelmsen Lines, told AFP in Oslo today.

French coast guards said the wreck of the Tricolor -- which breaks the surface of the water at low tide -- was clearly marked with a beacon on its southern approach and two patrol boats on the other side. In addition radio messages were broadcast every half hour on all shipping frequencies.