Two die after passenger ship and cargo ship collide near Haifa, Israel

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Divers have recovered two bodies after a passenger ship accidentally rammed a cargo vessel two miles from the port of Haifa, Israel.

The Israeli cargo ship Shelly sank after being struck by Cypriot passenger vessel Salamis Glory where she was anchored two miles from the coast. None of the nearly 700 people on the Salamis Glory were harmed, but two of the Shelly 's thirteen-man crew were unable to escape the sinking vessel. Their bodies were recovered twelve hours after the accident by Israeli divers.

Some of the survivors climbed on board a rescue launch lowered by the Salamis Glory, and were subsequently rescued by the navy, whilst the others were picked up by a rescue helicopter. The crew members on the Shelly were all foreign, with one of the deceased being an Ukrainian and the other being an Indonesian. They were the vessel's first mate and the ship's engineer. The survivors refused to be transported to hospital for treatment.

The bodies were retrieved after a massive search in the hope that the men had survived, with six naval vessels, several aircraft and countless divers participating. The disaster triggered an oil spill that spread down the Israeli coast, prompting officials to issue a warning against bathing at the nearby Zvulun beach.

The Salamis Glory returned to port in Haifa, exhibiting minor damage by to her hull. Her crew will be interviewed by police in order to determine the cause of the accident. Cyprus will also participate in the investigation and is sending a go team to the scene. Cypriot shipping official Sergios Sergiou named one line of inquiry as a possible fault with the vessel's navigation system.


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