Cargoship pulled free from shoal in Øresund
On Sunday afternoon, two tugboats pulled the Dutch cargo ship that went aground free from the ocean ground in the city of Råå south of Helsingborg on the Swedish coast of Øresund. The ship is now in Helsingborg where it is being retained by the Swedish authorities.
Hundreds of people watched by the coast as the two tugboats - Svitzer Hermod and Sund – without any problems, pulled BBC Lagos free from the shoal it had been stuck on since Friday night.
The cargo ship had gotten a Swedish crew aboard, who led the ship safely to the port in Helsingborg. Two ships closely followed the entire operation from the Swedish Coast Guard - one of them being a major environmental vessel. However, everything went according to plan, and there were no signs of any pollution in connection with the ship going aground or when the ship was pulled free from the shoal.
The fact that Swedish waters has been represented in two cases of ships going aground due to intoxicated sailors within the last two weeks, has led to a demand of a larger focus on breathalyser tests onboard ships.
It is unacceptable that we have maritime traffic in Swedish waters where bad choices are being made” says Swedish Minister of Infrastructure Thomas Eneroth to Helsingborg Dagblad and stresses that it is not Swedish ships and sailors but the international ones that are the problem.
The Minister will host a meeting for Swedish Maritime Organizations, the Swedish ports, the Transport Agency and the Maritime Administration to discuss what can be done to solve the issue.
Once BBC Lagos arrived at the port of Helsingborg, representatives of the Transport Agency went onboard to investigate the ship. Here, more violations of the safety regulations were found that resulted in the cargo ship being banned from leaving the port.
Last Friday, the Swedish authorities were informed that BBC Lagos followed a course that would lead it to land. The authorities attempted to contact the ship repeatedly via radio and, failing that, a pilot boat was sent out to contact the ship via light and horn signals. None of these manoeuvres worked.
Around 11.30 pm, the ship went aground and the Swedish authorities could go onboard. Here their suspicions were confirmed that the ship's Russian captain was drunk. A preliminary measurement showed that the captain had a alcohol level of 2.5.
The captain was then arrested and charged with sailing severely intoxicated and severe negligence at sea. Multiple speculations in the Swedish press wants a confirmation that nobody was on the bridge when the Swedish authorities tried to stop the ship in vain before the ship went aground.
BBC Lagos, registered on Antigua Barbuda, was on its way from Klaipeda to Las Palmas with a load of 5000 tonnes of wheat.