Two people were reported missing after two cargo ships – one of them British – collided in the Baltic Sea off the southern coast of Sweden.
A search operation with at least nine boats and a helicopter was launched after the crash in fog overnight, and rescuers heard people screaming in the water.
Denmark’s 55m barge Karin Hoj and the British-registered 90m Scot Carrier were traveling in the same direction when they collided at 2:30 a.m. GMT, according to the Danish and Swedish maritime police chiefs.
The Swedish coast guard said an investigation was looking into the possibility of “serious negligence” behind the disaster.
According to the Danish owners, the Scot aircraft carrier was operating normally and its crew was safe.
The search operation, near the Danish island of Bornholm in water temperatures of around 4-6°C, was halted in the morning but will be resumed later.
Soren Hoj, chief executive officer of Rederiet Hoj, which owns Karin Hoj, said: “I can confirm an accident happened but I don’t know the circumstances.
The Swedish Maritime Authority (SMA) said the Danish ship was empty and it was not clear what, if any, the British vessel was carrying.
“The lifeboats heard screams in the water,” Jonas Franzen, the Swedish Maritime Administration, told state broadcaster SVT. “The priority is to save lives,” he added.
The Danish Meteorological Institute said the fog was not dense and such conditions were not unusual for this time of year.
The search mission was adjourned when the overturned Karin Hog was towed through the wreckage. The Swedish Maritime Authority said that efforts to find the missing crew will be made after the capsized ship is towed closer to land.
Danish authorities say the barge captain has been tested for alcohol according to standard procedures and will be handed over to Swedish police.
According to financial data firm Refinitiv Eikon, the Scot carrier was sailing from Hargshamn, north of Stockholm, to Montrose on Scotland’s east coast.
Its owner, Scotline, said it could not comment on details but that they were assisting the local government.
The sea between Sweden and Denmark is busy with maritime traffic. Collisions are rare, although in 2006 a small Danish vessel sank after colliding with a Swedish vessel, and all crew members were rescued.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/cargo-ships-crash-sweden-baltic-sea-b1974799.html Two people missing after cargo ship collided in Baltic Sea off southern coast of Sweden