A cargo ship carrying 1,400 Mitsubishi vehicles from Japan and Thailand collided with another vessel off the coast of Belgium and the Netherlands yesterday. The 485-foot Baltic Ace was carrying cars from Zeebrugge, Belgium to Kotka, Finland when it collided with the 439-foot Corvus J. While the Corvus J sustained damage during the incident, it is not in danger of sinking, and its 12-man crew is currently still on board.
The Baltic Ace, meanwhile, went under. Three ships from the Royal Dutch Sea Rescue Organization, two navy vessels, four helicopters and one coastguard aircraft spent the evening searching for survivors, but rough seas and high winds hampered the effort. Eighteen of the Baltic Ace's crew, including the captain, were rescued after being found in life rafts, but six remain missing. The search for survivors has officially been called off.
The collision occurred in one of the busiest shipping lanes in the North Sea, and the managers behind the Baltic Ace said they believed human error was to blame for the incident. Dutch police are currently looking into whether or not they can investigate the sinking despite the fact that the collision took place outside of the country's territorial waters.