The Dutch cargo transporter ship Eemslift Hendrika is currently adrift off Norway after developing a heavy list amid rough seas last night (April 5).
All 12 crewmembers were safely evacuated by helicopter, as this footage released by the Norwegian Rescue Coordination Centre shows, leaving the boat’s precious cargo at the mercy of the North Sea.
The boats left on board the Eemslift Hendrika include two workboats, a sailing yacht and a sportscruiser-style motorboat, which appears to be a Windy 58 Zephyros (estimated value in excess of €300,000).
The situation looks perilous, with Norwegian Coastal Administration project manager Hans Petter Mortensholm telling local broadcaster NRK: “There is a risk that the vessel may capsize and sink. The vessel has [350 tonnes of] heavy oil on board and [50 tonnes of] diesel.”
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AIS data shows that the Eemslift Hendrika is currently around 50 miles North West of Ålesund, where conditions are heavy with waves up to 15 meters high.
“Towing lines have been set out aft of the vessel,” Mortensholm added. “As soon as conditions allow, we will try to stop the vessel and stop the operation, so that the vessel can be stabilised.
“If it continues with the drive it has now, the ship will be close to our shore in about a day and a half,” he continued.
“What is important is that we now get measures taken so that we can prevent the vessel from posing an environmental hazard. That is our main focus.”
Update: Reuters reported on Tuesday evening that Dutch company Smit Salvage has been tasked with recovering the Eemslift Hendrika before it capsizes or runs aground.
“Getting her onto a tow line and to a calmer location, that is the goal,” said spokesman Martijn Schuttevaer.
NRK adds that the salvage operation will be attempted today (April 7) amid 6-8m waves. The plan is that two tugs will tow both the Eemslift Hendrika and its missing cargo, an AQS workboat, which fell from the deck yesterday, as recent helicopter footage from the Norwegian Rescue Coordination Centre confirms.