LILLE, France (AFP) – An oil tanker and a cargo ship collided on Saturday (July 1) off Britain in one of the world’s busiest shipping routes, but no injuries or spills have been reported, authorities said.
The tanker had 38,000 tonnes of petrol on board at the time of the collision with a 220m cargo boat in the Strait of Dover, which is where the North Sea and the Channel meet.
“Although both vessels have been damaged, there is no water ingress and no pollution,” Britain’s maritime and coastguard agency said. “There are no injuries and all of the crew are accounted for.”
Photos released by French maritime authorities showed extensive damage to the side of the tanker “Seafrontier”, which had 27 people on board. The “Huyan Endeavour” cargo ship was able to continue on its way.
“We don’t know the circumstances of the accident,” a French maritime authority source told AFP. “The weather conditions were not bad, but the area where the collision happened is relatively narrow, with lots of traffic.”
The Huyan Endeavour was headed for Lagos and Seafrontier was bound for Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, Britain’s maritime and coastguard agency said.
The vessels have Chinese and Indian crews on board and both were sailing under a Hong Kong flag.
The Strait of Dover is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, used daily by about a quarter of global traffic or more than 400 commercial ships. On top of that pleasure and fishing vessels also sail in the zone.
French maritime authorities said sailing in the area can also be dangerous given its changing sandbanks, narrowness and reduced visibility caused by fog.
The Seafrontier may head to a French or Dutch port for repairs, the French maritime source said.