French authorities are confirming reports that a large container ship and an offshore fishing vessel collided early Wednesday morning on the southern lane of the Ouessant Traffic Separation Scheme (DST) near Brest, France. No one was injured in the collision, but both vessels sustained damage that will require stops at the shipyard for repairs.
The traffic separation lane where the accident occurred is said to be one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. More than 130 ships a day would be tracked in the seaway.
The 145,500 dwt container ship Ain Snan Express operated by Hapag-Lloyd and registered in the Marshall Islands was on the outbound leg of its route after making stops in the Netherlands, France, Germany and finally the UK. The 1,200ft container ship has a capacity of 13,500 TEUs and was bound for Algeciras, Spain.
Reports in French media suggest the crew member at the helm of the 115ft fishing vessel Coral was trying to pull the boat away from another cargo ship in late traffic when it collided with the container ship. The fishing boat had left France to begin a 24-day voyage to the west of Scotland.
At the time of the collision, the winds were blowing above 25 mph and the sea was rough at around eight feet.
The incident was reported to the French Regional Operational Center for Surveillance and Rescue (CROSS) at around 1:30 a.m. on August 10, with the fishing boat reporting to the center that it had serious damage mainly to its bow. While requesting assistance, the fishing boat was able to get to the port of Lorient by its own means. The shipowner reports that repairs are expected to take three weeks to a month after the ship is out of the water.
The captain of the container ship reported that the vessel’s hull had a hole above the waterline during the collision. French authorities say the container ship suffered a gash approximately 20 feet long and nearly three feet wide. It is more than 10 feet above the waterline so Ain Snan Express was allowed to continue. Reports indicate that it is being diverted to Gibraltar to undergo repairs. The container ship will then continue on its way to Singapore.
An investigation has been opened by the Lorient maritime gendarmerie to determine the causes of the collision.