At least three crew members died when a cargo ship carrying
cars sank after colliding with a container ship in the North
Sea, Dutch coastguards and media reports say.
The coastguards mounted an air-and-sea rescue operation after
the Baltic Ace, a car carrier sailing under a Bahamas flag,
collided with the Corvus J, a container ship from Cyprus, off
Rotterdam port on Wednesday night (local time), coastguard
spokesman Peter Verburg said.
Dutch news agency ANP, citing police, reported that 13 of the
24 crew from the Baltic Ace had been rescued and taken to
hospital for treatment, while at least three were dead.
Verburg said some members of the crew were found on four life
rafts and were lifted to safety by helicopters near the scene
of the collision.
The accident occurred about 40-50km off Rotterdam port in an
important North Sea shipping lane.
The cause of the collision was not immediately established,
but the British Met Office had predicted gale-force winds and
rain in the area.
The Baltic Ace was en route from Zeebrugge in Belgium to
Kotka in Finland, while the Corvus J was going from
Grangemouth in Scotland to Antwerp, Belgium, Dutch media
Operations at Rotterdam Port were not affected by the
collision, a port spokesman told Reuters. Rotterdam is
Europe's biggest port and handles commodities and
"It doesn't have any consequences for the port, it is far
away from the entrance to the port," spokesman Sjaak Poppe