Accidents hit Estonian Shipping Company

  • 2000-11-16
  • BNS and TBT staff
TALLINN - The Estonian Shipping Company suffered damage to two of its ships in separate incidents this week.

The passenger ferry Neptunia belonging to the Estonian Shipping Company, which had been chartered to a foreign company and had no Estonian crew, collided with a Dutch tug off the southeastern coast of Great Britain on the morning of Nov. 13.

The vessel was chartered to Salcon Malnsrei this January, Estonian Shipping Company development director Viktor Palmet said Nov. 13.

Palmet said the Estonian Shipping Company signed an agreement with a chartering company, according to which technical maintenance and staffing of the vessel would be carried out by a third company.

"The ship was chartered for work in the English channel," Palmet said. "There was no Estonian crew on board."

One member of the tug's crew of five suffered a slight head injury but did not need hospitalization, but none of the 49 people on board the 82-meter Neptunia were hurt. The ship can carry 150 passengers and 42 trucks with trailers.

The Neptunia, built in 1977, was en route from Folkestone, England, to Boulogne in northern France.

The English Coast Guard said both ships were damaged in the collision and took on some water.

The collision occurred just before six Nov. 13 morning 10 kilometers southeast of the port of Dover.

"The damage opened a small hole in the port quarter of the ferry," the maritime and coast guard agency said in a statement.

A ship owned by the Estonian Shipping Company, The Kapten Kolga cargo vessel, also ran into trouble this week. Its captain steered the vessel into a sand bank off the Latvian coast after the ship developed a 40 degree tilt in the Gulf of Riga and began to take on water in the afternoon.

Estonian border guard spokesman Urmo Kohv said the ship ran into a sand bank off Latvia's Kolka Peninsula where it waited for tugs before proceeding to the nearest port for repairs.

The pumps on board the Kapten Konga were out of order and the crew was unable to pump water from the vessel.

Once the ship had been rescued an Estonian border guard vessel, which had come to its aid was called back to port, and a helicopter from the border guard air squadron which had been on standby at Saaremaa's Roomassaare airfield returned to the mainland.

The Kapten Konga initially suffered engine failure and drifted into Estonian waters, but when the crew managed to restart the engine the ship it moving toward the Latvian coast. The crew was forced to jettison some of the cargo.

The Estonian Shipping Company then ordered two tugs from Riga to help the vessel.