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Rescuers save crew after tanker collision off French coast

A tanker carrying 6,000 tons of chemical solvent collided with another vessel off France's Atlantic coast. French port authorities said the ship's cargo, which is highly flammable, did not seem to be leaking.

Uranus tanker listed in water

The collision occurred early Friday morning

Rescue ships scrambled on Friday to save a stricken chemical tanker carrying 6,000 tons of solvents adrift off France's Atlantic coast after a collision with a freighter forced its crew to abandon ship.

Rescuers took 13 crew members to safety by helicopter and a deepwater tug towed the heavily tilted 120-meter (400-foot) Uranus toward the port of Brest in France's northwest after a salvage team boarded the ship. The vessel is not expected to arrive in Brest before Friday night.

"The salvage team on board is confident that while the vessel has a 12 degree list to port, there is no immediate danger," said the ship's Glasgow-based operator V Ships.

The Maltese-flagged Uranus was en route from Porto Marghera in Italy to Amsterdam when the collision occurred early Friday with the Hanjin Richzad, a 191-meter Panama-flagged freighter travelling from Las Palmas in Spain to Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The much larger freighter was allowed to continue its voyage after being inspected.

The Uranus had taken on large amounts of water after the collision. The coastguard was forced to pump some of the water out of the ship, but no pollution was visible in the water.

The Breton coast is at the western entrance to the English Channel, one of the world's busiest waterways, and has in the past been hit by several environmental disasters linked to shipping.

Authors: Darren Mara, Andrew Bowen (AFP/AP)
Editor: Matt Hermann

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