Ships collide in English Channel
A Maltese-registered ship involved in a collision in the English Channel Tuesday had failed numerous safety checks around the world, according to the BBC.
The 23,000-ton bulk carrier “General Grot-Rowecki” was involved in a collision early Tuesday with the chemical tanker “Ece” about 48 kilometers off Guernsey. All crewmembers from both ships were rescued soon after the collision.
The vessel “Ece”, which was carrying 10,000 tons of phosphoric acid, capsized under tow on the way to the port of Le Havre in the early hours Wednesday.
Although the “Ece’s” cargo does not pose any environmental threat, Greenpeace said it feared the fuel oil on board could have a “long-term” and “devastating effect” on local marine life.
“Phosphoric acid does not pose a pollution threat. It has dissolved in the sea,” said a spokesman for the United Kingdom’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
The “General Grot-Rowecki” was built in 1985 and inspections in Canada, Norway and Belgium previously revealed “serious deficiencies,” the BBC said.
Maritime union NUMAST, which represents about 19,000 ship masters, officers and staff in the shipping industry, said the collision was evidence of “alarming signs of a decline in safety standards around the U.K. coast.”
“The clear message from current trends is that next time we may not be so lucky. It is a matter of not ‘if’ there is a major maritime disaster on our doorstep, but ‘when’ it will be,” said Brian Orrell, NUMAST’s general secretary.
“Around 90 percent of collisions at sea are the result of human factors, yet the industry continues to crew its ships on the basis of cheapness rather than competence. Problems such as fatigue and cuts in crewing levels are adding to the risks, and it is time the complacency ended,” Orrell added.
The collision in the English Channel follows an incident on Friday when three ships collided in heavy fog near the Peruvian port of Callao.