Arrival of Britannica Hav at the port of Le Havre (Seine-Maritime), Thursday, March 22, 2018, escorted by Abeille Liberté, Argonaute and the Caiman Navy helicopte

Spectacular Collision off Cherbourg: What Future for the Cargo Towed in Le Havre?

Local News

Following a collision at sea, with a fishing boat, the cargo ship Britannica Hav was towed to Le Havre, Thursday 22nd March, 2018. Questions arise about its future.

Returned following a collision off Cherbourg (Manche) , the cargo ship Britannica Hav was towed to  Le Havre (Seine-Maritime), Thursday, March 22, 2017. The maritime prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea, the commander of the port of Le Havre and the prefecture of Seine-Maritime took stock of this “exceptional operation”.


A “technically complex operation”

“We had to find a way to tow the wreck of Britannica Hav as quickly as possible because we did not know if the boat was going to sink, or if there was a risk of a spill: the boat containing more than 30 tons of fuel used to propel it, “said Pascal Ausseur, prefect of the Channel and North Sea.

In fact, in less than 24 hours, the wreckage was towed with cables to the port of Le Havre, designated “harbor refuge”, to the detriment of the port of Cherbourg for example, because it was “the most to manage a complex operation technically “.

No deconstruction envisaged … for the moment

Moored at the Osaka wharf since 1 pm on Tuesday 22nd March, the Britannica Hav has not finished occupying the authorities.

“A team of divers is currently shearing the masts of the boat so they do not touch the bottom when the tide goes down, which could destabilize the hull, said Marie Aubert, sub-prefect of Le Havre.”

It also specifies that “prevention devices” have been put in place: protective dams around the boat and the presence of firefighters to “assess more accurately the state of the hull”.

The following operations remain to be defined:

“The shipowner and the company he commissioned to take care of the boat were put on duty to act. They will have to provide us with two modes of operation: one that will secure the wreck by pumping the fuel it contains, and the one that will evacuate the port of Le Havre. If what they propose to us does not suit us, if the convoy can not take again the sea, it will be necessary to envisage a deconstruction, warns Pascal Ausseur.”

Four cargo hatches belonging to the freighter broke off during the collision. Its “doors” of 15 meters by 20, one of which “probably sank”, will be repatriated by a tug to Le Havre.

“I’m not surprised by this accident”

The Britannica Hav, a Maltese cargo ship carrying 2,000 tonnes of steel, and Deborah, a fishing vessel flying the Belgian flag, collided on Tuesday, 20 thMarch 2018, in the middle of the afternoon.

“The trawler of 38 meters entered perpendicularly in the ship of 82 meters, creating a waterway in the hull,” explained Pascal Ausseur. And to add:

“I am not surprised by this accident since it took place in one of the busiest maritime areas of the globe: 200 cargo ships pass through the English Channel every day, often in adverse weather conditions. The last time we had such a spectacular accident was the Ice Prince ten years ago.”

No criminal proceedings have been launched by France since no French is involved in the collision. It will be up to the two foreign shipowners to determine how such an accident may have occurred.

Spectacular Collision off Cherbourg: What Future for the Cargo Towed in Le Havre? 1

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