Lifeboats launched in English Channel after cargo ship collision

An oil tanker and a cargo ship collided in the English Channel between Great Britain and France on Saturday morning.

It was carrying around 37,953 metric tonnes of petrol and had 27 people on board on a journey meant to end in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala.

A UK Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter was also scrambled to assess the damage to the vessels, the 183-metre-long crude oil tanker, the Seafrontier and the Huayang Endeavour, a 75,000-tonne bulk carrier.

Both vessels were at a complete stop, the RNLI said.

The second vessel is also reported to have been damaged in the crash, but neither are thought to be taking on water and there was no pollution.

The Channel between Britain and France is one of the busiest shipping corridors in the world with about 500 vessels passing through per day.

"Situation under control, hull intact, no risk of pollution or danger for traffic", said French maritime officials in a tweet.

A spokesman for the RNLI said that both vessels suffered damage in the collision, with the Seafrontier having a hole above the water line and damage to the superstructure. Tanker loaded with 38000 tons of petrol fuel wan en route from Antwerp to Lagos, bulk carrier was ballasting from Ijmuiden Netherlands to Puerto Bolivar, Equador. Huayang Endeavour had 22 people on board and was "in ballast", the coastguard said.

The UK Coastguard sent its helicopter to the scene along with Dover and Ramsgate RNLI lifeboats in case evacuation of the crews was needed.

Both lifeboats were stood down at 05.44am by which time the tug was in assistance and the Seafrontier taken under tow.

  • Anthony Vega