Rescuers pulled at least three bodies from the North Sea late Wednesday and were searching for eight other crew members of a cargo ship that sank off the Dutch coast after colliding with another ship.
In the operation, the Dutch Coast Guard deployed helicopters to pull 13 survivors from the cargo ship Baltic Ace. The Bahamas-flagged carrier, with a crew of 24, sank after being struck by the container ship Corvus J in heavily traveled shipping lanes about 50 kilometers from the Dutch port of Rotterdam.
The Cyprus-flagged Corvus J remained afloat late Wednesday, and Coast Guard officials said it was in no immediate danger of sinking.
Late Wednesday, a rescue spokesman told Dutch television the search for survivors was continuing. But four hours after the collision, he said chances of survival in the icy North Sea were “shrinking” for anyone still remaining in the water.
The cause of the collision was not immediately established.
The shipping lane where it occurred is one of the busiest in the North Sea and an important sea channel to Rotterdam — Europe's busiest port.