الإثنين , يونيو 8 2020

Coastguard suspends ship crew search



RNLI video of ship

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The search for the crew members has now become a recovery operation

The search for the missing crew of the cargo ship Cemfjord in the Pentland Firth has been suspended.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said that by last light on Sunday nothing had been found.

The bulk carrier had a crew of eight – seven Polish nationals and one Filipino. It capsized before sinking.

The vessel’s upturned hull was found by a passing ferry in the Pentland Firth on Saturday.

An MCA statement said: “The families of the missing crew have been notified. The coastguard will continue to broadcast messages to all shipping requesting that they are informed about any information or sightings that could be related to the vessel.

“The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has been informed and is about to begin work on the investigation.”

There had been no distress call from the ship, which was carrying a bulk load of cement from Denmark.

Map

The last confirmed sighting of the ship was at about 13:00 on Friday.

It is understood the alarm was raised by the crew of the ferry Hrossey at 14:30 on Saturday.

The Hrossey, which was sailing to Aberdeen, spent time in the area looking for survivors.

Passenger Caitlin Ditchfield said: “About two hours into the journey, the NorthLink ferry we were on strangely stopped in the middle of the sea.

“Then from the window we could see the hull of the cargo ship in the water.

Cemfjord

Cemfjord

“After a while the captain made an announcement that he had called the three closest coastguards but they had asked that the ferry conduct a search while the lifeboats made their way to us.

“The ferry started to circle the ship looking for any debris. We were at the scene for two-and-a-half hours before the coastguards said we could carry on with our journey.”

Storm force

Brise of Hamburg, managers of the Cemfjord, said in a statement that the crew consisted of seven Poles and a Filipino.

It added: “No distress call was received from the vessel. Bad weather prevailed in the area at the time and conditions remain difficult at the scene, with storm force winds.

“The company is in the process of informing the families.”

The Cemfjord was built in 1984 and was converted to a specialist cement carrier in 1998.

On this voyage, it was carrying 2,000 tonnes of cement and had been sailing from Aalborg in Denmark to Runcorn in Cheshire. It was due to arrive on Monday.

Brise of Hamburg said the ship had successfully completed its classification renewal inspections during December 2014.

Searchers have been concentrating their efforts on areas of coastline where debris may have been washed ashore.

Search teams

Search teams

An inflatable boat was recovered by a team in Orkney, but the coastguard said they have been unable to confirm if it came from the Cemfjord.

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