Two Big Catches: One Shark, One LPG Tanker
The 50-foot fishing vessel Gros Loulou had a busy week. On July 9, captain Arnaud Perchey reported a big catch – a 550 pound thresher shark, worth $4.50 a pound (left). And on Friday, the Loulou found something even bigger.
At 0210 hours Friday, the Gros Loulou collided with the Belgian LPG tanker Waasmunster. The 37,500 dwt Waasmunster was at anchor off Le Havre in a designated anchorage, carrying 25 crew and 18,000 tons of butane, SAR authorities Premar Manche said in a statement, adding that officials found out about the collision when they overhead the bridge to bridge communications between the two vessels.
The crew of the Waasmunster checked for damage, and they found flooding at around 0350 hours; they requested a Navy dive team to investigate. Divers found a hole below the waterline of 20 inches by 28 inches. Flooding was limited to one previously dry ballast compartment, and did not pose a threat to stability.
By 0930, the divers had placed a magnetic temporary patch over the hole to stop water ingress. A navy helicopter flew a team with pumping equipment to the Waasmunster’s deck, and they helped the crew to pump out the flooded compartment. The captain of the Waasmunster determined that it was safe to get underway towards harbor; the bridge team took way off at 10 nm out from the harbor entrance so that divers could check the patch, which was found to be well sealed.
The Waasmunster came safely alongside in Le Havre early Friday evening.
The search and rescue tug Abeille Liberte, the harbor tug Biscay and the naval minesweeper Croix du Sud attended the Waasmunster to aid in the response effort.
Meanwhile, following the collision, the Gros Loulou reported no damage or injuries and got under way for Port-en-Bessin, to the west of Le Havre. At 0700, the Loulou called for help and informed SAR authorities that it had suffered a leak in the hull. The lifeboat Madonne responded and assisted the Loulou to pump out. The fishing vessel arrived safely in port at 0845.
Authorities have not yet made statements regarding the cause of the collision.
Images courtesy Gros Loulou and Premar Manche