He always drift. And he approaches our shores about 1 knot, less than 2 km / h . Slow but steady. The ferry Modern Express , 164 meters long, is this Friday at about 270 kilometers from La Rochelle, closely watched by the French Navy, came to assist the offshore tugboat the Abeille Bourbon .
The operations are coordinated by the maritime prefecture in Brest. And the situation is not easy to manage
For the cargo ship filled with wood, very heavy, is heavily tilted to the side with a huge house.: 50 degrees. And the Atlantic swell, about four meters, it prints heavy oscillations. So, the evaluation team did not find the moment to embark solution to allow docking of steel cable of the trailer.
The ship is like lying on water, almost perpendicular. How is it come to this? The ro-was apparently unbalanced by the unintended movement of its cargo of 3600 tons of wood and 350 tons of Hulls due to the roll.
The difficulty of depositing specialists on board, which is indispensable to organize mooring towing.
“As a climbing wall without taking”
“We have a large steel structure, such as a climbing wall without outlet. Raise the persons on board is very delicate because there is no point of attachment “ says Commander Louis-Xavier Renaut, spokesman for the maritime prefect.
The Dutch company specializing bailout and towing Smit Salvage, commissioned by the owner of the cargo, should attempt this Friday afternoon Friday to prepare the Modern Express for towing, with . specialized team of four boarding
Several buildings are now on zone: a French frigate anti-submarine warfare, the Primauguet , with on board a helicopter and a tugboat of the Navy, L’Abeille Bourbon , carrying rescue experts mandated by the shipowner.
Two Spanish tugs hired by the Lifesaving Society, are also on site, and a decontamination building of the Navy, The Argonaut sent “as a precaution” .
Modern Express , a fairly recent construction vessel (2001) under the Panamanian flag, sailed from Gabon to Le Havre when he launched a distress call, January 26, 150 miles (280 km) to the northwest tip of Spain, off the coast of La Coruna.
If the 22 crew members were safely airlifted, cargo threatens our shores. With on board, 350 tonnes of fuel. The authorities hope bénéficierce Friday a slightly better weather to slow its drift and then towed into port.