Chemical tanker in trouble off French coast

October 8, 2010 4:03:52 AM PDT
A chemical tanker carrying thousands of tons of solvent was in difficulty Friday off France's northwestern coast after an apparent collision with another ship, French maritime officials said. There was no visible pollution in the water surrounding the 120-meter (131-yard) ship, which was constructed in 2008 and was sailing under a Maltese flag, the maritime prefecture in the French city of Brest said. Its 13 crew members were evacuated by helicopter to a nearby air base.

A tow boat was in place, along with a French Navy frigate. Officials were waiting for more details on exactly what kind of solvent it carried before having an investigation team board the tanker or launch an operation to tow it.

Authorities believe the tanker collided with another boat but are waiting to interview the two ships' captains to learn more.

The YM URANUS cargo ship, is carrying 6,000 metric tons (6,600 tons) of solvent. It was located 100 kilometers (60 miles) southwest of the island of Ouessant on Friday. It had been traveling from Porto Marghera in Italy to Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

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