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Drifting, unmanned cargo ship is towed away from French coast

Chicago Tribune photo

Three earlier efforts to redirect the ship had failed, with authorities fearing it would crash on the French coastline. The Modern Express was carrying diggers and 3,600 tonnes of timber from Gabon in west Africa to Le Havre in Normandy.

Marine salvage experts have successfully towed a stricken cargo ship away from France’s picturesque Atlantic coast.

The Panamanian-registered Modern Express was 27 miles from shore when authorities launched a final attempt to attach a tow line and stop it from hitting the coast. Experts from the Dutch company Smit Salvage, which specialises in helping ships in distress, were lowered by helicopter on to the vessel as it tilted at 40 to 50 degrees while being buffeted by large waves.

The ship’s crew sent a distress signal last Tuesday with the vessel listing badly, probably owing to cargo coming loose in the hull. The 22 crew members were evacuated by helicopter as they clung to the ship.

More at The Guardian

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