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Ship with Estonian crew sinks off Faeroe Islands

  • 2005-02-02
  • By The Baltic Times
TALLINN 's A freight ship with an Estonian crew sank off the Faeroe Islands on Monday, the Estonian Maritime Board reported. One sailor died, and five were still missing as of Tuesday afternoon. Five sailors were rescued, the board stated.

The merchantman Jokulfell registered in the Isle of Man went down about 60 nautical miles northeast of Faeroe Islands in the North Atlantic on Monday evening. According to preliminary data by the Foreign Ministry, there were four Estonian nationals and a citizen of Russia among the survivors.

All told, seven seamen carrying Estonian passports were on board the ship.

The cause of the sinking is unknown. Wind speed in the area was 15 meters per second and visibility was good.

The maritime board has not yet been informed about crew members' personal data but Estonian authorities keep in touch with their Icelandic colleagues, departmental head Rein Silm said.

The five rescued crew members are on board the Danish navy vessel Vadderen.

Toomas Huudma, manager of the Tesma Estonia AS shipping company, told the Baltic News Service that all crewmembers were Estonian residents. Families of the crew have been informed about the accident, he added.

The Jokulfell was en route from the Latvian port of Liepaja to Iceland with 1,978 tons of construction steel and containers on board. According to the Danish news agency Ritzau, the sinking of the ship may have been caused by the shifting of the metal cargo that unbalanced the vessel.

A search and rescue operation has been launched in the area, the operator of the ship reported. Two hours after the distress signal was picked up, a rescue helicopter arrived on the scene.

Huudma, who has been in touch with Faeroe authorities, added that a rescue aircraft from Iceland was expected to join the operation.