Rescue crews protect Dutch cargo ship adrift in Norway

HELSINKH (AP) – Despite the rough seas, a joint Norwegian-Dutch rescue operation managed to control a Dutch cargo ship abandoned off the coast of Norway and was towing the ship to port on Thursday.

Norwegian authorities said the rescue operation for the Eemslift Hendrika, a registered ship in the Netherlands designed to transport large boats, was completed on Thursday morning and that the ship is slowly being towed to the western city of Alesund.

The ship’s crew, made up of 12 people, was rescued by helicopter on Monday night after a power outage in its main engine. The Norwegian Coastal Administration, based in Alesund, launched a rescue operation on Wednesday night, when it became clear that the raging sea could cause the drifting ship to hit the shore.

The vessel has large quantities of diesel oil and fuel in its tanks, which may have caused an environmental disaster. Norwegian maritime authorities issued an emergency alert on Wednesday night and began preparations in the event of an oil spill.

The Hendrika Eemslift was adrift in the area where the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea meet. Rescue experts were lowered into the steep ship on Wednesday to attach tow ropes to the waiting tugboats.

A large boat aboard the 6-year-old freighter’s deck crashed in rough seas on Tuesday, but was found by the Norwegian coast guard and attached to another tug.