Expatica news

Sunken tugboat salvaged, captain still missing

14 May 2004

AMSTERDAM — The tugboat that sank on Friday morning, presumably with the loss of life of its captain, was salvaged from the Oude Maas on Friday and taken to a nearby harbour in Dordrecht.

Three other crew members survived the accident, but the search operation for the missing 24-year-old Dordrecht man had failed to locate him on Friday morning, a spokesman from the national police force KLPD said.

The three survivors were members of the Dordrecht rescue squad, They were identified as two men aged 24 and 43, both of Dordrecht, and a 28-year-old Barendrecht woman. The woman suffered minor injuries.

The vessel En Avant 18 capsized in the Oude Maas near Zwijndrecht at about 12.30am on Friday; about 60 rescuers were called in to assist in the rescue operation. The boat sank later on Friday.

The search operation was postponed at 5am, but police resumed operations later on Friday morning. The captain’s body was not found inside the boat, and a helicopter with a special camera is assisting the search operation, news agency ANP reported.

In co-operation with the Department of Waterways, sonar equipment is also being used in the search, but police do not hold out great hopes of finding the missing man alive.

The boat was lying upside down in the water before it was salvaged. Fire brigade, police, KLPD officers and medical authority GGD were called to the scene. The boat was later taken to the Wilhelminahaven in Dordrecht, near Rotterdam.

The boat — owned by the Dordrecht-based Muller shipping company — was towing an 80m-long UK ship for a steam power event Dordt in Stoom, which will be held in Dordrecht on Saturday. The towed ship was left adrift after the tugboat capsized.

Dordt in Stoom is dubbed the largest steam power event in Europe. Organisers expect 250,000 visitors for this year’s event, the 11th time it is being staged.

Meanwhile local shipping was halted on early on Friday as rescuers searched for the missing captain, but was allowed to resume later in the morning. The cause of the capsizing is not yet known.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news