By: Scott Way
The crew was safely rescued but the ship remains adrift with several yachts and 350 tonnes of oil aboard.
Twelve crew members aboard a transport ship were safely rescued by helicopter after it began listing in heavy seas. Footage of the rescue from the Norwegian Rescue Coordination Centre shows the ship at a precarious angle as several yachts on the main deck slope heavily to the side.
The vessel itself, the Eemslift Hendrika, is based out of the Netherlands and is currently carrying two workboats, a sailing yacht, and a sportcruiser-style motorboat, according to Motorboat & Yachting. The cruiser appears to be an early generation Sunseeker Predator 68. According to VesselFinder, the ship was built in 2015 and carries a length of 111m (364 ft) and a beam of 17 m (56 ft). It was headed for the port of Kolvereid in Norway and is currently adrift in waves as high as 15 metres (49 ft) approximately 130km (80 miles) off the coast in the North Sea.
The boats on the main deck aren't the only concern. Norwegian Coastal Administration project manager Hans Petter Mortensholm told local broadcaster NRK “There is a risk that the vessel may capsize and sink. The vessel has [350 tonnes of] heavy oil on board and [50 tonnes of] diesel.”
“The ship lost power on the main engine during the night and is drifting towards land," Mortensholm added. “Towing lines have been set out aft of the vessel. As soon as conditions allow, we will try to stop the vessel and stop the operation, so that the vessel can be stabilized."
“If it continues with the drive it has now, the ship will be close to our shore in about a day and a half,” he continued.
“What is important is that we now get measures taken so that we can prevent the vessel from posing an environmental hazard. That is our main focus.”
According to the Reuters, Smit Salvage, a subsidiary of the Dutch marine services company Boskalis, has been contracted to try and save the ship. A team was expected to begin operations on Tuesday depending on weather conditions. If conditions are favourable, they will put their own crew aboard and link the Eemslift Hendrika to an anchor handling tugboat designed to move rigs for the oil industry.
“Getting her onto a tow line and to a calmer location, that is the goal,” said Smit Salvage spokesman Martijn Schuttevaer.
Check out footage from the rescue below: