The crew of Dutch heavy-lift cargo ship Eemslift Hendrika (IMO 9671486) were evacuated in stormy weather off the coast of Norway late on Monday March 5th. The abandoned vessel, which is mainly used as a yacht transporter, was left adrift and in danger of sinking, according to local officials.
The vessel had issued a distress signal during the morning of April 5th when it was in the Norwegian Sea, 60 nm west of Olesund, Norway. The ship appeared to have developed a heavy list after a cargo shift.
According to local media, eight crew out of the 12 were evacuated by helicopter, leaving four crew on board to attempt to salvage the ship. Salvage ships or tugs were heading for the vessel.
Footage later released by the Norwegian Rescue Coordination Centre showed some of the 12 crew members jumping into the ocean from the by-now badly listing vessel before being rescued by helicopter. Others were hoisted directly from the deck.
The vessel had departed Bremerhaven, Germany bound for Kolvereid, Norway. The cargo shift causing the vessel to list between 15 and 30 degrees to starboard in heavy seas.
The Norwegian authorities initially dispatched three helicopters and two rescue vessels to coordinate the efforts on the scene. Arriving at the vessel, they reported seas were running 10 to 15 metres and winds were a strong to severe gale with maintained speeds over 40 mph.
Initially it was decided to airlift eight of the twelve crew members from the vessel to Alesund. The captain and three crew members remained aboard during the day attempting to steer the Eemslift Hendrika into the weather and stabilize the cargo. The Norwegian authorities assisted by airlifting two bilge pumps to begin pumping out seawater that was leaking into the cargo hold.
The vessel’s owner told the Norwegian media that the situation was stable aboard the vessel, and they were hoping that the weather would subside so that the vessel could proceed to a nearby port.
Late reports from the Norwegian authorities however are that the weather had not calmed and by late in the day, the captain felt it was no longer safe for the crew to remain aboard. The captain and three remaining crew members were airlifted off the ship by a Norwegian SAR helicopter. Some reports indicate that one of the crew members was injured and was taken to a hospital.
The Norwegian Coastal Administration and the shipping company were reported to be working on a plan for handling the vessel in hopes that it would remain afloat overnight, and that the weather would calm sufficiently to permit a salvage effort.
All the crew members were brought to safety, but the vessel was at risk of sinking, Hans Petter Mortenson of the Norwegian Coastal Administration told public broadcaster NRK, adding that “the ship lost power on the main engine during the night and is drifting towards land”.
He said that if the ship sunk it could cause a spill of diesel and fuel oil from its tanks.
The Eemslift Hendrika is operated by Starclass Yacht Transport, which runs two vessels, offering regular yacht transport between Norway and Turkey.
One person was reported injured and taken to a hospital.
MV Eemslift Hendrika, built in 2015, is managed by Amasus Shipping BV and is registered in the Netherlands. AIS data shows the ship departed Bremerhaven, Germany on March 4 with a destination of Kolvereid, Norway.
Built in 2015 and registered in the Netherlands, the 111.6 metre (366 feet) Eemslift Hendrika is a yacht transport vessel, carrying smaller boats on its deck, according to Monaco-based Starclass Yacht Transport, which markets the ship’s services.
2015 built, Netherlands-flagged, 5,460 gt Eemslift Hendrika is owned by Eemslift Hendrika BV care of manager Amasus Support BV of Delfzjil, Netherlands.