2 ships collide off Belgium's Zeebrugge; crew of 11 rescued

AP News
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Posted: Oct 06, 2015 10:43 AM
2 ships collide off Belgium's Zeebrugge; crew of 11 rescued

BRUSSELS (AP) — A Dutch cargo ship sank off the Belgian coast after colliding with a gas tanker early Tuesday. The crew of 11 was rescued.

The accident happened close to the busy waterway off the port of Zeebrugge, which many ships use on their way to the major ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp.

Provincial governor Carl Decaluwe told VRT radio that "some 20 ships were involved in the rescue because there is little time to save people considering the hour and temperatures." The collision happened just after 4 a.m. with air temperatures below 10 Celsius (50 Fahrenheit).

During the afternoon, two small oil slicks caused by the accident were moving some 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the shore toward the north, posing no immediate environmental threat.

The Dutch cargo ship, the Flinterstar, was still partly visible, while the gas tanker was anchored at Zeebrugge port after the collision to assess the damage.