France in final bid to save stricken cargo ship

31st January 2016, Comments 0 comments

French authorities said Sunday they would make one last attempt to stop a stricken cargo ship from crashing into France's Atlantic coast.

The Panamanian-registered Modern Express cargo ship is set to hit the coastline not far from the western French resort of La Rochelle at some point between Monday night and Tuesday night, unless rescue teams can successfully attach a tow line.

The 22 crew of the Modern Express were evacuated by helicopter in dramatic scenes last Tuesday after an unexplained breakdown caused the boat to tilt dangerously.

With the boat leaning over at 40 to 50 degrees, salvage teams have been unable to fix a tow line to the 164-metre-long (538-foot) vessel, and bad weather once again disrupted efforts on Sunday.

As well as its cargo of diggers and timber, the boat was carrying 300 tonnes of fuel oil.

French authorities said there was a limited risk of pollution in the event of a crash, but a depollution vessel was at the scene.

A specialist salvage team from the Netherlands has been working at the scene since Friday. They managed to attach a tow line but it was snapped in the rough seas.


© 2016 AFP

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