A Dutch cargo ship that lost power in a severe storm off Norway’s west coast earlier this week was finally brought under tow in an emergency operation during the night. That avoided what many feared could have been an environmental catastrophe.
Crews from the Norwegian Coast Guard, a Dutch salvage firm and Norway’s search and rescue service managed to snare the dangerously adrift Eemslift Hendrika and hook it up to the Smit salvage firm’s powerful tugboat. The towing operation was proceeding towards Ålesund Thursday morning, escorted by the Coast Guard vessel KV Bergen.
The weather fortunately improved a bit, but hazardous steps still had to be taken Wednesday night when fears rose that the vessel would soon ground as heavy seas pushed it towards land. All 12 of the vessel’s crew members had been airlifted off the vessel or even plucked from the seas during dramatic rescue operations on Tuesday.
Emergency crews also managed to recover one of the smaller vessels being transported by the Eemlift Hendrika that had fallen overboard and posed a hazard to other maritime traffic. It was also under tow to Ålesund on Thursday.
A massive oil spill prevention operation had been mobilized since the Dutch vessel was carrying 350 tons of heavy fuel oil and 50 tons of diesel. Officials at the scene reported “good cooperation,” with the vessel’s shipowning company and its insurer.