‘Did container ship Baltic Tern deviate from its course?’
Did the Baltic Tern ignore the urgent advice of the Netherlands Coast Guard to sail a different course? Members of Dutch Parliament want an answer to this question. They have asked Parliamentary questions about the ship losing five containers above Dutch Wadden Island Ameland on 7 April.
The answer should come from Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, but has been postponed for the time being.
With these questions, the Members of Parliament (Gijs van Dijk (PvdA), Habtamu de Hoop (PvdA) and Tjeerd de Groot (D66)) want to know more about the situation of the Baltic Tern. An important question is whether the ship ignored the urgent advice of the Netherlands Coast Guard not to take the southern shipping route closest to the Dutch Wadden Islands. Or whether the Coast Guard failed to warn at all, both of which can lead to dangerous situations.
Not following the advice of the Coast Guard can lead to similar accidents, with damaging consequences for the Wadden Islands. The Members of Parliament therefore want clarification on how this happened.
They also want to know the status of the Minister’s promise to make efforts with Germany and Denmark to place more restrictions on the shipping route around the Wadden Islands in stormy weather. Dutch political party PvdA feels that action must be taken now and that there is no need to wait for Germany and Denmark. They ask Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen for her opinion on this.
The Baltic Tern lost five containers on 7 April at about 27.5 km north of Ameland in the North Sea. After a long search, all five containers were eventually found. One of the five containers contained acetone. The 169-metre ship was on its way from Germany to Rotterdam.
Picture by Netherlands Coast Guard.
This article first appeared in Dutch on Schuttevaer, a publication of SWZ|Maritime’s publishing partner Promedia.