| Turkish tanker Vicky which collided into the sunken Tricolor in the North Sea. (AFP)
London, Jan. 2 (Reuters): A tanker transporting highly flammable kerosene collided with a sunken car carrier off France yesterday, becoming the second ship to miss a series of hazard signs and plough into the vessel, officials said.
The 243-metre-long Vicky passed a series of warning buoys and a radar beacon to crash into the Tricolor, which sank in the North Sea between Britain and France in December with a cargo of luxury cars including BMWs, Volvos and Saabs worth up to $50 million.
The Vicky struck the Norwegian-registered Tricolor at about 7 pm (1900 GMT), a spokeswoman for the Dover coastguard in southeast England said. It briefly was stuck on top of the Tricolor before it managed to refloat in what is one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
“It is going to drift about a mile away, anchor there and wait until daylight to assess the damage,” said a spokesman for Lloyds Shipping Service.
There was no immediate danger to the 24 crew members, officials said.
“Our main concern is the pollution threat, as it was when the Tricolor went down,” Mark Clark of the Dover coastguard told British television.
The Vicky, a Turkish vessel, was carrying 70,000 tonnes of kerosene, a thin distilled oil, and was en route to New York from Antwerp.
French maritime officials said two helicopters and two tugboats were on the way to the scene.
The French coastguard was coordinating the rescue operation as the collision had occurred in French waters.
The Cherbourg local prefecture said there are five fluorescent buoys around the ship at distance of 1.5 km, one of them with a radar beacon, and that there are radio alerts every 30 minutes.
It also said the Flemish maritime authority had warned the boat of the sunken ship.
A German cargo vessel was freed from the Tricolor’s hull on December 16 after crashing into the sunken ship which is lying in about 25 metres of water.