Containership and Fishing Boat Collide in Busy French Sea Lane
French authorities are confirming reports that a large containership and an ocean-going fishing boat collided early Wednesday morning in the southbound lane of the Ouessant Traffic Separation Scheme (DST) near Brest, France. No one was injured in the collision, but both vessels sustained damages that will require shipyard stops for repairs.
The traffic separation lane where the accident occurred is reported to be one of the busiest sea lanes in the world. More than 130 ships per day a reportedly tracked in the sea lane.
The 145,500 dwt containership Ain Snan Express operated by Hapag-Lloyd and registered in the Marshall Islands was on the outbound portion of its route after having made calls in the Netherlands, France, Germany, and finally the UK. The 1,200-foot containership has a capacity of 13,500 TEU and was bound for Algeciras, Spain.
Reports in the French media are suggesting that the crewmember at the helm of the 115-foot fishing boat Corail was attempting to steer the boat away from another freighter in the traffic late when they collided with the containership. The fishing boat had been outbound from France beginning a 24-day trip to the west of Scotland.
At the time of the collision, winds were blowing above 25 mph and the seas were reported to be rough running at approximately eight feet.
The incident was reported to the French Regional Operational Center for Surveillance and Rescue (CROSS) at approximately 1:30 a.m. on August 10 with the fishing boat telling the center that it had severe damage primarily to its bow. While requesting assistance, the fishing boat was able to proceed to the port of Lorient under its own power. The vessel’s owner is reporting that repairs are expected to require three weeks to a month after the vessel is lifted out of the water.
The captain of the containership reported that the vessel’s hull was holed above the waterline in the collision. The French authorities are saying that the containership suffered a gash approximately 20 feet long and nearly three feet in width. It is more than 10 feet above the waterline so that Ain Snan Express was permitted to proceed. Reports indicate that it is diverting to Gibraltar to undergo repairs. The containership will then continue on its route to Singapore.
An investigation was opened by the Lorient maritime gendarmerie to determine the causes of the collision.