The exact cause is still unknown, but initial reports found the schooner turned in front of the Astrosprinter in the Elbe River, according to a German radio station.
The recently restored historic No. 5 Elbe sailing ship sank Saturday after colliding with the Cyprus-flagged containership Astrosprinter in Germany’s Elbe River near Hamburg.
The exact cause is still unknown, but preliminary results reported Monday found the containership, which was traveling in the direction of the Elbe estuary, traveled correctly along the northern side of the waterway, NDR.de reported Tuesday. Police said the schooner, which had 43 people including 14 crew members on board at the time of the accident, was traveling on the wrong side of the Elbe River and turned south directly in front of the cargo ship’s bow despite the containership having the right-of-way according to maritime rules, it reported.
Eight people on the No. 5 Elbe, which was built in 1883, were injured. They were rescued from the ship and taken to different hospitals, CNN reported. The crew gathered passengers at the stern of the ship prior to the collision, according to NDR.de.
“We are deeply saddened by the collision. Our thoughts are with the passengers and the members of the ship’s crew who were hurt,” said the Hamburg Maritime Foundation, which owns the sailboat, in a statement.
The containership reportedly attempted to reach the crew of the sailboat, which was controlled by a retired 82-year-old, by radio without success prior to the collision, NDR.de reported.
The 142-meter-long Astrosprinter called England’s Port of Immingham Monday and is scheduled to arrive at the Lithuanian Port of Klaipeda on Wednesday, according to VesselFinder.com.
Loose parts on the schooner’s rigs and parts of the masts were dismantled Monday with a floating crane as salvage operations began, NDR.de reported. A decision has yet to be made on whether to retrieve the No. 5 Elbe from shore or with floating cranes, and the scope of the damage is still unknown, according to the report.
The No. 5 Elbe, Germany’s last remaining ship from the wooden shipbuilding era, was bought by the Hamburg Maritime Foundation in 2002. The 37-meter-long ship returned to its home port on May 29, according to a tweet, after undergoing an approximately 1.5 million euro ($1.7 million) restoration.