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US fishing trawler sinks after colliding with MSC ship

A fishing trawler sank off the coast of Chincoteague in the US state of Virginia on 28 October, after reportedly colliding with an MSC container vessel.

The US Coast Guard (USCG) said on social media that it received a distress call from the crew on the fishing trawler, 1970-built, 621 GT Tremont, around 2 am (local time) on 24 October. The 13 crew members said they were abandoning the vessel as it had begun sinking after colliding with the 2005-built, 8,090 TEU MSC Rita.

USCG dispatched an MH-60 Jawhawk helicopter, an HC-130 Hercules airplane, a life boat from Coast Guard Station Chincoteague and the cutter Rollin Fritch to the scene, 101km off Chincoteague. Assisted by the crew on two passing ships, US naval research vessel Atlantis and Drystan, all the Tremont crewmen were rescued.

Twelve of the crewmen were evacuated on a small boat launched by Atlantis and were moved to Drystan while the Tremont captain was helicoptered to the USCG base in Virginia.

MSC Rita was on its way to Charleston port when the accident happened, having departed New York & New Jersey port on 27 October. S&P Global’s Sea-Web data shows that MSC Rita continued its journey to Charleston, where it has been anchored since yesterday (30 October).

MSC Rita is deployed on MSC’s Indus Express service, calling at India, Pakistan, the Middle East and the US East Coast. MSC’s website shows the ship is expected to arrive at Freeport in the Bahamas, at 6 am (local time) today (31 October).

MSC confirmed in a statement that its vessel deployed on Indus Express service was involved in a collision which resulted in the sinking of a fishing boat called Tremont.

"Authorities have launched an investigation, with the full assistance and cooperation of MSC. Our first priority is to understand the circumstances which led to this unfortunate incident, and we are staying closely apprised to developments as they unfold," stated the company.

USCG commander for Virginia, Jennifer Stockwell said, “While this morning’s events were unfortunate, 13 people were rescued from an extremely perilous situation. The combined efforts of good Samaritans and Coast Guard response assets demonstrates a selfless commitment to others.”

Martina Li
Asia Correspondent

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