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Accidents

Eight missing after cement freighter capsizes off coast of Scotland

Lifeboats crews are waiting to resume a search for the crew of an overturned cargo vessel spotted off the northeast coast of Scotland. Eight people were aboard the ship, which issued no distress call.

Lifeboat crews called off their search for the crew late on Saturday, after the boat's predicament had been reported by a passing ferry.

Eight people were believed to be on board the Cypriot-registered Cemfjord when it capsized, although no mayday call was issued by the crew.

Brise of Hamburg, which operates the cement carrier, confirmed that the crew of eight - consisting of seven Poles and a Filipino mariner - was missing "following a severe accident."

"No distress call was received from the vessel," said a statement from the company. "Bad weather prevailed in the area at the time and conditions remain difficult at the scene, with storm force winds."

Brise said that it was in the process of informing the sailors' families. The 83-meter freighter was carrying 2,000 metric tons of cement from Alborg in Denmark to Runcorn in northwest England.

The ferry was reported capsized by the passing ferry crew at about 2.30 p.m. local time (1430 UTC).

Lack of mayday 'very strange'

Four lifeboats and two rescue helicopters were involved in the search, which was being coordinated by the Shetland Island coastguard and set to resume at first light on Sunday.

Bill Farquhar, from the local lifeboat station, told the BBC that the weather had been bad, but that the absence of a distress call was notable.

"It is very, very strange, especially with all the weather technology we have nowadays," he said. "Whatever happened, it happened very rapidly."

In a separate incident, the BBC reported early on Sunday that all 25 crew members of the car transporter Hoegh Osaka, which was heading from Southampton to Germany, were safe after the ship ran aground in the Solent, near to Southampton.

rc/bk (AFP, dpa)