Sunken Ship in English Channel Hit Again

January 3, 2003

Despite every precaution they’ve taken and warnings they’ve put in place, British, French and Belgian maritime authorities were trying to figure out how the Vicky, a Turkish oil tanker, carrying 70,000 tons of kerosene, ran into the sunken hull of the Tricolor in the English Channel on Wednesday night.

The Vicky was the second ship to run over the wreck since it sank three weeks ago following a collision with a container ship. The vessel lies in shallow water – its hull is above sea level at low tide – in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, and authorities have placed a number of warning buoys and taken other measures to avoid collisions, but apparently not enough.

The Vicky reportedly emerged unscathed from the collision and is currently being inspected for any damages by Belgian authorities a few miles off the coast. The vessel, which was bound for New York, will instead dock at a European port for further checks on its seaworthiness, once the preliminary inspection has been completed, and a suitable port, able to accommodate its 52-foot draft, can be found.

This latest incident has increased fears that the sunken ship could cause a major disaster if it isn’t removed, but so far no one seems to have come up with a feasible plan for doing so. Its presence, however, continues to make maritime insurers very nervous.

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