A video released on Tuesday shows the dramatic rescue of the 12-man crew of a Dutch transporter vessel whose cargo had shifted in heavy seas.
On Monday, eight crewmembers were airlifted off the stern of the 111-meter Eemslift Hendrika off the coast of Norway. The vessel had been sailing from Bremerhaven, Germany, to Kolvereid, Norway, when some of its cargo shifted, causing the vessel to develop a dramatic list.
Four crewmembers remained behind to help establish a tow, but by Tuesday gale conditions forced them to be removed from the vessel as well. The four remaining crewmembers were directed to jump off the vessel’s stern so a rescue swimmer could retrieve them from the water. Waves were reported to be around 60 feet.
In the video, one of the crewmembers can be seen jumping into the water, nearly getting sucked under the ship’s stern, floating away and being plucked out of the water by helicopter.
In the video’s final shot the transporter vessel drops into a trough so deep that it exposes its running gear.
Since the video was released, the largest ship aboard the Eemslift Hendrika, the brand-new utility vessel AQS TOR, reportedly fell off the transporter vessel and was floating a few miles away in a remarkably good state. The Eemslift Hendrika’s stability was improved by the loss of the utility vessel.
A salvage team was dispatched to try to tow the Eemslift Hendrika before it capsizes or drifts into the Norwegian coast. Norway is just 30 nautical miles away, where the transporter’s fuel supplies could cause an environmental disaster.
By Wednesday morning, two tugs had arrived on scene. By then, waves were reported to be a more manageable 25 feet. The plan is to drop a four-man salvage crew onto the ship via helicopter to help establish the tow and get the transporter to calmer waters.