Rescue of Crew from Drifting Bulker After Hitting Tanker


Dutch and Belgian rescue services successfully removed 18 crew members from a Maltese-flagged bulk carrier that was drifting off the coast of the Netherlands after colliding with a chemical tanker and a foundation in a wind farm. Reports indicate that the second of two fierce winter storms was crossing the region causing the bulker to lose its anchor and possibly its rudder.

The Coastguard of the Netherlands indicates that the accident took place late morning in the Ijmuiden anchorage, a busy area where ships typically lay offshore near Amsterdam. A nine-year-old bulker, the Julietta D, had been in the anchorage since January 23 having arrived from Germany. Winds were gusting up to 75 mph this morning with high seas when the vessel reportedly lost its anchor and was drifting out of control. The bulker, which is 37,200 dwt and 623 feet long, was later reported to be missing its rudder.

The Julietta D first made contact with the anchored chemical tanker Pechora Star. The 13,000 dwt tanker had arrived in the anchorage yesterday, January 30, from Germany. The Pechora Star maintained its anchorage but did suffer some damage when it was hit by the bulker. However, the Coastguard reported that the situation aboard the tanker was stable.

The bulker, however, continued to drift and was reported to be taking on water after hitting the tanker, prompting the decision to evacuate the vessel. Two Dutch helicopters were dispatched along with a patrol boat from the Coastguard and they also requested the assistance of the Belgian Coast Guard which sent one of its helicopters. The operation took about an hour to hoist the 18 crew from the rolling deck of the bulker.

The Julietta D continues to drift and roll in the storm entering the area of the Hollandse Kust wind farm which is currently under construction by Vattenfall. The Coastguard of the Netherlands reported that the vessel hit one of the foundations in the wind farm, however it appears that the wind turbine had not yet been installed on the foundation.

Late today, the Coastguard said that arrangements have been made with the owners of the bulker for a salvage crew to attempt to tow the drifting vessel. The Coastguard was preparing to airlift a crew back to the vessel to help to secure the towline. In the last update of the day, the Coastguard of the Netherlands reported that the salvage tug Sovereign has a tow connection with the Julietta D. They are waiting for calmer weather and daylight before the ship is towed to the port of Rotterdam.

Source The maritimes executive
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