Two missing after British and Danish ships collide in Baltic

Two people are missing after two cargo ships collided in foggy conditions in the Baltic Sea between the Danish island of Bornholm and the southern Swedish city of Ystad.

The 55-metre Karin Hoej, registered in Denmark, had capsized and was upside down, the Swedish Maritime Administration (SMA) said. It had two people onboard, the Danish Defence’s Joint Operations Centre (JOC) said.

The other ship, the 90-metre, British-registered Scot Carrier, was functional and its crew were safe.

A rescue operation near the site, which was strewn with wreckage, was continuing more than five hours after the incident. Swedish divers were standing by on land to investigate the hull, the SMA said.

Water temperature is around 4-6C in the area, according to the Danish Meteorological Institute.

“I can confirm an accident has happened but I do not know the circumstances,” said Søren Høj, the managing director of the shipping company Rederiet Høj, which owns the Karin Hoej.

The vessel, which was not loaded, was sailing from Södertälje in Sweden to Nykøbing Falster in southern Denmark, he said.

The Scot Carrier was sailing from Hargshamn, north of Stockholm, to Montrose on Scotland’s east coast, according to Refinitiv Eikon data. Its owner, Scotline, said it could not comment on details of the incident but was assisting and complying with local authorities as required.

A spokesperson for the Danish Meteorological Institute said there was fog in the area at the time of the accident, at about 3.30am. (0230 GMT).

Denmark was helping Swedish authorities with the rescue, in which nine vessels and a helicopter were participating. Civilian vessels in the vicinity were also assisting.

The accident happened in Swedish territorial waters and the two ships were sailing in the same direction when they came into contact.

The JOC was not immediately able to say whether the ships carried any hazardous cargo. “The Danish ship, which is upside down, is a relatively small ship, so it has so little oil onboard. That is not what worries us at the moment,” it said.

The SMA said the Danish vessel was empty of cargo and it was unclear what, if anything, the British ship was carrying.

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