UK Marine and Coastguard Agency has suspended the search for eight missing crew members who were onboard the cement carrier Cemfjord when it sunk in the Pentland Firth, Scotland.
Cemfjord was transporting 2,000t of cement from Aalborg in Denmark to the UK port of Runcorn, when it capsized and sunk in the Pentland Firth on Friday. It was scheduled to reach its destination today.
The search operation was halted late on Sunday, as rescue teams failed to find any trace of the seven Polish seafarers and one Filipino mariner on the vessel.
Passenger ferry, Hrossey, spotted the sinking vessel on Saturday and notified the coastguard.
Managers of the vessel, Brise Schiffahrt Hamburg , said that no distress call was received and bad weather prevailed at the time of the accident.
Naval vessel HMS Somerset searched an area to the west of the Pentland Firth while a fixed wing aircraft searched the east.
A coastguard helicopter and four Royal National Lifeboat Institution lifeboats were also involved in the search.
Brise Schiffahrt issued a statement on Sunday saying that, the coastguard’s tug Herakles would remain at the presumed position of the submerged Cemfjord during Sunday night.
Built in 1984 as a general cargo vessel, Cemfjord was converted in 1998 to a cement carrier. She completed her classification renewal inspections during December 2014.
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) is investigating the incident.
The agency is also probing the grounding of the car carrier Hoegh Osaka in the Solent, off the Isle of Wight in England.
Germany-bound Hoegh Osaka was grounded on Bramble Bank outside the port of Southampton on Saturday after it developed a ‘severe’ list, owners of the ship Höegh Autoliners said.
All 24 crew members and one pilot onboard the vessel were rescued.
Höegh Autoliners added: “Right now we have serious work ahead of us in order to free the vessel from the Bramble Bank without disrupting the flow of traffic in and out of the Port of Southampton.
“An investigation is ongoing as to what occurred last night and that is being conducted by the MAIB.
“Our chief concern now is to ensure there is no environmental damage from this incident.”
Svitzer has been appointed to salvage the grounded Hoegh Osaka.
Image: The grounded Hoegh Osaka on Bramble Bank, England. Photo: courtesy of MAIB.