Radioactive Cargo Sinks in the North Sea (Great Events from History II: Ecology and the Environment Series)
Article abstract: The Mont Louis, a small French coastal vessel carrying uranium hexafluoride, a mildly radioactive material, collided with a German ferry and sank, but no radioactive material leaked into the sea.
Summary of Event
The Mont Louis was a small, French-registered vessel built by Wartsila Ab of Turku, Finland, in 1972. During the night of August 25, 1984, the Mont Louis was running parallel to the coast of Belgium enroute from Dunkirk, France, to Riga, Latvia, in the Soviet Union. Because the ship’s crew size had recently been reduced, the man who should have been standing watch as lookout on the Mont Louis had been assigned to other duties. A West German ferry, the Olau Britannia, bound from Flushing, Holland, to Sheerness, England, struck the Mont Louis in the starboard, or right side near the stern. When two ships are on crossing courses, the ship whose starboard side is clear has the right-of-way. The other vessel is required to maneuver as necessary to avoid a collision. In this case, the Mont Louis should have yielded the right-of-way to the Olau Britannia.
This collision occurred at night in heavy fog in the North Sea, just east of the eastern entrance to the English Channel, where ship traffic is among the heaviest in the world. The Mont Louis’ failure to maintain a proper lookout under these circumstances was...
(The entire section is 2007 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!