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Container vessel OBLITERATES newly restored 19th-century wooden ship in Germany (PHOTOS)

Container vessel OBLITERATES newly restored 19th-century wooden ship in Germany (PHOTOS)
An historic pilot schooner, the ‘No 5 Elbe’, was sunk after colliding with a container ship near Hamburg, Germany. The sail vessel was carrying 43 passengers and crew on board, five people were injured during the accident.

The schooner was destroyed on the Elbe River on Saturday, when it was hit by a Cyprus-flagged container ship ‘Astro Sprinter’. Footage of the collision shows that the tiny boat was literally ran over by the cargo ship, which made a large hole in its hull and demolished one of its masts.

Luckily, rescue ships turned out to be nearby and all those aboard the ‘No 5 Elbe’ were quickly assisted. Five of them, however, were injured, including one seriously, who was struck by the falling mast. The ship promptly sank in the shallow waters, while the ‘Astro Sprinter’ escaped the collision seemingly undamaged.

The sail boat carried around a ton of fuel, which is why emergency services installed oil barriers around the wreck to prevent a spill.

To add insult to injury, the ‘No 5 Elbe’ was just out of restoration, said to cost around €1.5 million. The vessel, built originally back in 1883, had been undergoing repairs in Denmark and returned to Hamburg in late May. The ship has been used primarily for entertainment and carried tourists in the vicinity of Hamburg.

While the exact cause of the accident is yet to be established, preliminary results indicate that the schooner took an abrupt turn and got into the course of the ‘Astro Sprinter’, which had been sailing along the main fairway, local media reports. In such a major commercial waterway as the Elbe River, commercial traffic has a priority, and it's likely the collision was caused by the sail ship.

Cargo vessels have apparently become a real menace of the high seas over the past few years, repeatedly getting involved in collisions with other vessels. The merchants have plagued the US Navy, which has seen a number of its vessels badly damaged after managing to collide with civilian ships, and even scored a solid “kill” on a Norwegian frigate ‘Helge Ingstad’, which was sunk by an oil tanker in November.

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