SPAIN’S search and rescue agency Salvamento Maritimo have evacuated the crew of a roll on / roll off car carrier which was being battered by Force 8 winds on heavy seas.
The rescue operation was coordinated by the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC), in Falmouth, UK, with assistance from the National Coordination Centre in Madrid.
Reports confirm that the ailing vessel, which was badly listing by 40 degrees, had drifted into waters protected by France’s search and rescue team, located 148 miles off Galicia’s Cape Ortegal.
Responding to a distress call from the car carrier’s captain, who explained that the Panama-flagged ship had experienced a “loss of stability incident,” two Spanish helicopters arrived to airlift the 22 crew members on board to safety.
Of those rescued, 16 crew members were brought to Spain’s La Coruña airport, while a further six were transferred to Celeiros in Portugal. All of the crew is reported to be in good condition.
The fifteen-year-old vessel is a 10,454 dwt Modern Express and was travelling from Gabon in West Africa to Le Havre, France. It weighs 34,000 tonnes and is 164 metres long.