Cargo ship sinks during rescue tow into Leixões

A cargo ship, carrying steel and bound for Seville, sank on Sunday as it was being towed into Leixões port.

The 22-year-old Southwester, flying under a Vanuatu flag, started taking on water last Thursday, impelling the 14-man crew to abandon ship for a life-raft.

Authorities called in to tow the boat to safety would have been pulled down with it, explain reports, if they hadn’t released the towing cables.

The crew meantime – described as seven Turks and seven Georgians – was picked up by a merchant vessel flying under a Liberian flag, and has since made it to dry land, where all members were tested for Covid-19 (and found to be virus-free).

The Southwester is now ‘underwater’ and may stay that way.

Said the national maritime authority, it “presents no danger to navigation”. The situation will be ‘monitored’ with regard to the possibility of “eventual action” if there are any oil/ chemical leaks caused from the wreck.

Marine Traffic website is currently describing the ship as “out of range” and “not under command”.

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