The 294 meter long, 60189 dwt container ship MSC Federica became disabled on the Outer Weser River near Bremerhaven, Germany. The vessel had lost power after an engine failure and went adrift on the river. Two tugs were nearby and pushed the vessel back to a quay where it berthed. Repairs were done by the crew and the vessel continue its journey to Hamburg the same day. No reports of injuries, damage or pollution released.
The 132 meter long ro-roferryHerald of Free Enterprise departed from Zeebrugge bound for Dover on March 6, 1987. The ferry loaded with 459 passengers, 80 crew and 131 vehicles suddenly capsized and sank under five minutes later. The ferry had lost stability and rolled over to port in shallow water. The water had rushed in as the watertight door in the bow was open allowing water to rush down the length of the vessel. The water quickly flooded the vessel disabling the electrical systems. Passengers and crew trapped inside were thrown into darkness in frigid water.
A nearby dredger saw the lights of the ferry disappeared and contacted the authorities. The Belgian Navy was nearby and soon rescue helicopters were on the scene. While many were rescued, many perished due to hypothermia before they could be rescued. When search and rescue efforts ended, there were 193 people who perished on board the vessel.
The Herald of Free Enterprise was salvaged in April 1987 and taken to Flushing. The vessel was sold for scrap and towed to Taiwan in 1988.
The cause of the sinking was investigated and revealed several causes that lead to the sinking.
The Master of the vessel was unable to see if the bow doors were closed from the bridge (due to the ship’s design) and there was no indicator light
The assistant boatswain who is responsible for closing the door was asleep at his bunk at the time of the accident
The first mate had left the deck early to go to the bridge assuming the assistant boatswain would close the doors
The last crewman who saw the doors open did not close the door before the vessel left
The vessel’s speed in shallow water increased the flooding into the vessel
The vessel’s ballast tanks in the bow resulted in an irregular trim
The 171 meter long, 20316 dwt container ship Emotion allided with the 130 meter long, 8185 dwt container ship Marnedijk in the Brunsbuettel lock. The Emotion was mooring in the lock when its foreship cable snapped allowing the Emotion to strike the moored Marnedijk. There was slight damage on the Marnedijk and no damage on the Emotion. No reports of injuries or pollution released. The water police has conducted an investigation into the incident. The Marnedijk was en route to Bremerhaven from Gdansk.