langeland sinking

Search Continues but Survivors Unlikely

Six men are feared dead, as the Swedish Maritime Rescue Centre says that there's little chance of now finding survivors from a cargo ship that sunk in storms off the west coast of Sweden.

On Saturday morning the search for survivors resumed as news came out of past safety worries regarding the vanished vessel.

Sea rescue's Peter Lindquist says that in order to have survived, the ship would have had to have trapped an air pocket inside as it sunk, and the sailors would have had to have managed to get inside it. Plus if the ship lies deeper than 40 metres it will not be possible for divers to reach it.

Sonar is being used to investigate an area where oil is bubbling up to the surface. Two fishing boats that are helping in the search say that they have sensed an object on the sea bed - but that it lies 108 metres deep and will be investigated with a remote controlled underwater vehicle.

The first distress call from the freighter Langeland came at 5:55 AM on Friday morning. According to the Norwegian owner Myklebostads Management AS the crew was made up of Russians and Ukrainians. The 70 metre long, 2,500 ton ship was carrying a cargo of stone, and it is possible that this load broke loose and capsised the ship.

A failed safety inspection in February 2007 got the Langeland banned from leaving the harbour in the southern Swedish port of Landskrona for several days. Later that year another inspection in Gothenburg found 13 safety problems, according to Swedish broadsheet Svenska Dagbladet. But the last inspection this February gace no similar warning signs.

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