FlorenceSeven seamen were rescued after their cargo ship sank following a collision with a chemical tanker 240 miles south-south-west of Lands End at around 0330 on Dec 9.

Falmouth Coastguard were alerted when the emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) was set off as the Dominican flag cargo ship Florece, 3,407dwt, began to sink.

Falmouth Coastguard used long range information tracking to locate the nearest ship to the position given, the Bahamas flag chemical tanker Afrodite, 53,082dwt. Her Master told the Coastguard that she had been in collision with the Florece and that the crew had taken to the liferafts.

The Afrodite had attempted to deploy her fast rescue craft but had been unsuccessful due to the swell. The tanker sustained little damage and was not taking water. During this time, the US Coast Guard had also received a distress signal from the Florece and reported this to Falmouth Coastguard.

Falmouth Coastguard then used enhanced group calling to make a request for assistance to any ships in the area. They also discussed the incident with the Spanish Coastguard. The container ship Maersk Kampala, 88,700dwt, and the heavy lift ship Ocean Titan, 8,034dwt, responded to the Coastguard call, and the Ocean Titan was able to go the scene to rescue all seven crew, who were a mixture of Russian, Polish and Ukranian nationalities. No medical assistance was required.

Falmouth Coastguard watch manager Terry Collins said: “Satellite technology and modern communications made all the difference with this incident, meaning that we were able to pinpoint the location of the sinking ship, call the nearest vessel and coordinate a response within minutes.”

More on this and other news in Sea Breezes Magazine - February 2012 Issue
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