Crew rescued following ships collision

Twenty-two crew members have been rescued from a chemical tanker that collided with another vessel in the English Channel this morning.

The 8,003-ton tanker 'Ece', which is registered to the Marshall Islands, collided with the bulk carrier 'General Grot-Rowecki' around 2am this morning.

RAF Search and Rescue teams joined the rescue operation along with their French counterparts.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency confirmed that the Coastguard helicopter from Lee-on-Solent rescued ten people, while the St Peterport RNLI lifeboat rescued another 12.

All the crew were taken to Guernsey. None are seriously injured.

Portland Coastguard Andy Jenkins said: "We are pleased to report that all of the crew are safe and well."

An assessment is now underway to determine the damage to each vessel. The chemical tanker is believed to have sustained significant damage and is in danger of sinking. Some of its cargo of phosphoric acid has been leaking.

The Coastguard has played down fears of a pollution risk. Fred Caygill, from the Maritime Coastguard Agency, said: "Phosphoric acid is a corrosive liquid. It does not pose a pollution threat. It has dissolved in the sea."

The General Grot-Rowecki, a Maltese-registered carrier, is believed to have suffered only slight damage.


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