‘Virtually Zero’ Chance Six Missing Sailors Alive After Cargo, Container Ships Collide
This BBC video discusses how Dutch rescue teams said it was unlikely that six missing sailors would be found alive after a cargo ship collided with a container ship in the North Sea on December 5, 2012. While 13 members of the 24-man crew were rescued on the Wednesday that the ships collided off the coast of Belgium and the Netherlands, strong winds and high seas made search conditions difficult the following day. A fifth body was found before the operation was stopped, but Netherlands Coastguard spokesman Peter Verburg told the BBC, “The chance that we will find people alive is virtually zero.”
The 485-foot Baltic Ace was carrying cars to Finland when it collided with the nearly 440-foot Corvus J. BBC reported that the 24 crewmembers of the Baltic Ace abandoned ship as it sank quickly following the collision, but the 12 individuals on the Corvus J remained on board as that vessel was not in danger of sinking. The maritime and offshore news website Captain reported that the missing are presumed dead due to weather conditions and cold water, and officials said some of the bodies could still be trapped inside the sunken vessel. Verburg told the BBC that the cause of the collision was not known.
The Financial Mirror, a Cyprus daily business newspaper, reported that Dutch police said they had no jurisdiction to investigate the accident because the collision occurred outside the Netherlands’ territorial waters. According to the Mirror, authorities form the Bahamas and Cyprus are investigating the collision because the Corvus J was a Cyprus-registered container ship and the Baltic Ace was a Bahamas-registered cargo ship. The Mirror reported that the collision occurred in “one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes,” and the 23.500-ton Baltic Ace sank in 15 minutes.
The Jones Act lawyers at Latti & Anderson LLP have been involved in many high-profile ship sinking cases, including the sinking of the F/V ANDREA GAIL that became the basis for the 1997 book and 2000 film adaptation, The Perfect Storm. Some of the multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements our Jones Act attorneys have secured for clients include a $1.7 million settlement for the estate of one of three crewmembers killed when the F/V STARBOUND sank after being struck by the tanker M/T VIRGO. Damages available under maritime law for wrongful death are unique and can be limiting so it is important to contact a maritime attorney to understand the limitations under maritime law.
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