Superb engineering by a talented team was required to save a 538-foot South Korean cargo ship that was crippled in deteriorating conditions off the coast of France and listing by 40 to 50 degrees.
The Modern Express was carrying 3,600 tons of timber and heavy digging equipment from Gabon in West Africa to the port of Le Havre in Normandy, France, when its cargo shifted in rough seas and gale-force winds on Jan. 26.
Helicopters evacuated the ship’s 22 crewmembers and the vessel drifted until a Spanish tugboat secured a tow line on Monday.
Officials feared that the ship could have struck the southwest coast of France on Monday night or Tuesday morning if the effort to attach a tow line had failed.
The tugboat "managed to pivot [the ship], point it towards the open sea and begin towing it," spokesman Louis-Xavier Renaux told BBC News.
The vessels were reported Tuesday to be traveling west at a speed of 3 knots. Agence France-Presse said they are headed for the port of Bilbao in Spain, where the ship will be stabilized.