Rescue ships scrambled Friday to save a stricken chemical tanker adrift off France's Atlantic coast after a collision with a Hanjin Shipping bulk carrier forced its crew to abandon ship.
A deepwater tug was towing the badly listing 400-foot Maltese-flag Uranus to the port of Brest in northwest France after a salvage team boarded the ship.
Aside from its bulk fleet, Hanjin is No. 9 on the JOC list of Top 15 Container Fleet Operators.
The Uranus was carrying 6,000 metric tons of heavy pygas (pyrolysis gasoline), a product of ethylene manufacturing which contains a large amount of the industrial solvent benzene.
The ship's 13-member crew took to the life rafts shortly before dawn. A rescue helicopter pulled them to safety via winch, said the coastguard headquarters in the Brittany city of Brest.
One member of the Turkish crew was lightly injured during the rescue, the coast guard said.
The Uranus was said to be "taking on large amounts of water" after colliding with a bulk carrier 50 nautical miles southwest of the island of Ouessant.
The coast guard later said they had started to pump some of the water out of the ship, with no pollution visible.
"The ship is being towed to Brest port where it should arrive at the end of the afternoon," the transport ministry said in a statement.
"We're in more of a favorable situation than an unfavorable one," maritime authority spokesman Marc Gander told journalists in Brest.
The Uranus was built in 2008 and is compartmentalized with a double hull, Gander said, reducing the risk of the solvents leaking into the sea.
"The Uranus was en route from Porto Marghera in Italy to Amsterdam when the collision occurred with the Hanjin Richzad, a 191-meter Panama-flag freighter traveling from Las Palmas in Spain to Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
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