Norwegian Coast Guard Postpones Salvage of Abandoned Ship

Norwegian coast guard officials said Wednesday bad weather and rough seas have prompted them to postpone efforts to recover a Dutch cargo ship drifting off the coast of Norway following the evacuation of its crew earlier this week.The Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA) said it had planned to approach the  Eemslift Hendrika with tugs and bring some of the crew back on board in hopes of getting the abandoned ship to port.  But officials said wind-driven waves 15 to 18 meters high made that plan impossible. Dutch and Norwegian salvage experts are now expected to try again Thursday. In a press release, NCA emergency director Hans Petter Mortensholm said, “Life and health are always the first priority during an incident like this, and it must be safe to carry out the rescue.”As of early Wednesday, the ship, which was outfitted to carry small yachts, was 74- to 94 kilometers from the Norwegian coastal city of Alesund. The coast guard responded to a distress call from the ship and used a helicopter to lift its crew to safety Monday.  In a statement on its website, the NCA said it feared the ship could capsize because the vessel was listing at a 40- to 50-degree angle. But the statement said one of the boats on board broke away and fell into the water, stabilizing the ship somewhat. The NCA emergency director told Norwegian public radio the boat was later retrieved.  There had been concern the boat could run aground and spill a substantial quantity of fuel in its tanks, but the NCA says there is little danger of that happening. 

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