OSLO, April 7 (Reuters) - A Dutch cargo ship that was
abandoned at sea during a storm this week is on course to run
aground in Norway early on Thursday and could cause an oil spill
unless a last-ditch effort to save the vessel prevails, local
officials said on Wednesday.
The Eemslift Hendrika, badly listing after parts of its
cargo shifted in the rough weather, is adrift just 18 kilometres
(11 miles) from shore and could make landfall at around 0230
GMT, the Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA) said.
While the NCA earlier said the Hendrika was drifting
parallel to the coast, and that rescue efforts could wait for
another day while two large tugs remain on standby, it will now
accelerate the effort.
"We've succeeded in lowering a salvage crew onto the
Eemslift Hendrika. They are working to establish tow lines," the
NCA said in a statement.
The Hendrika has around 350 tonnes of heavy oil and 50
tonnes of diesel in its tanks, it added.
Footage released by the Norwegian Rescue Coordination Centre
on Tuesday showed some of the original crew members jumping into
the sea before being rescued by helicopter. Others were hoisted
directly from the deck.
The Coastal Administration late on Wednesday said it had
invoked a government mandate to resume full operational command
over the salvage operation, and that equipment had been
mobilised along the coast to combat the spread of any oil spill.
Built in 2015 and registered in the Netherlands, the 111.6
metre (366 feet) Eemslift Hendrika is a yacht transport vessel,
carrying smaller boats on its deck, according to Monaco-based
Starclass Yacht Transport, which markets the ship's services.
(Reporting by Terje Solsvik in Oslo
Editing by Matthew Lewis)