The Mission to Seafarers’ Chaplain in Rotterdam, Holland, worked around the clock with rescue crews following the collision.
The 24-man crew of the Baltic Ace immediately abandoned ship, outside Rotterdam port at 1815 GMT on 5 December. 13 seafarers have been rescued, four have been confirmed dead, and seven remain missing.
Revd Stephen Hazlett, The Mission to Seafarers’ Chaplain in Rotterdam spoke to the crew who had survived the sinking of the Baltic Ace and was among the first welfare support worker on the scene. He said: “The survivors were shocked but coherent and deeply concerned about their colleagues. They talked of how poor the visibility was, due to the weather conditions; it had not only snowed but was very windy and had been raining heavily. It all happened so quickly, the men abandoned ship within several minutes of the fatal collision.”
The Baltic Ace, a Bahamas-registered cargo ship, carrying cars from Zeebrugge in Belgium to Kotka in Finland and the Corvus J, a Cyprus-registered container ship, sailing from Grangemouth in Scotland to Antwerp in Belgium, collided in one of the busiest shipping lanes in the North Sea.
The survivors were provided with new clothing, toiletries and phone cards so they could contact their loved ones. Revd Hazlett was able to stay with the seafarers offering welfare and support throughout the night.
The search for those missing resumed at first light. The cause of the collision is unknown.