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6 Apr, 2021 13:38

Fears of oil spill in North Sea as Dutch cargo ship evacuated, left adrift off Norwegian coast

Fears of oil spill in North Sea as Dutch cargo ship evacuated, left adrift off Norwegian coast

A Dutch cargo ship could cause an oil spill in the North Sea after it was dramatically evacuated amid stormy weather following an engine failure, the Norwegian Coastal Administration has warned.

Footage from the Norwegian Rescue Coordination Centre shows members of the Eemslift Hendrika's 12-member crew jumping into the sea, while others were airlifted to safety from the deck.

All the crew were evacuated safely, although the captain reportedly sustained an injury and was taken to hospital.

The 111-meter-long vessel is adrift 130 kilometers off the Norwegian coast after its main engine lost power on Monday.

Aboard the ship was a work boat worth millions of dollars that has now fallen off.

A patrol vessel and aircraft have been dispatched to stabilize the ship, the Norwegian Coastal Administration said on Tuesday.

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"There is still a risk that the ship may capsize and pose an environmental hazard," the government agency said in a statement.

It added that the "main focus" is to make sure the Hendrika's 350 tonnes of heavy oil and 50 tonnes of diesel do not spill into the sea.

The administration said it had also made plans to ensure the ship does not smash into the coast amid strong winds and 15-meter-high waves.

"There is a risk it may capsize and sink," Hans Petter Mortenson of the Norwegian Coastal Administration told public broadcaster NRK. He said the ship was drifting towards land.

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Dutch maritime company Boskalis, which was involved in the successful re-float of the Ever Given container ship in the Suez Canal last week, has reportedly been called in to assist the Hendrika.

The firm will send a heavy sea tugboat and a salvage team to assist the vessel on Tuesday, according to Dutch daily newspaper Het Parool.

The Dutch-registered Hendrika was built in 2015 and is used to transport smaller boats on its deck.

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