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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 August 2007, 21:28 GMT 22:28 UK
Police charge ship crash captain
The Jork cargo vessel before it sank(Picture from Search and Rescue team, Wattisham Airfield)
Seven people had to be rescued from the ship in the North Sea
A captain has been charged with being drunk in charge of a cargo vessel which crashed into a North Sea gas platform.

Zbigniew Karkowski, 56, was arrested after the Jork hit the unmanned Echo platform 40 miles (64km) off the Norfolk coast on Saturday.

Mr Karkowski, from Szczecin, Poland, was one of seven people who had to be rescued from the 2000-tonne ship.

The vessel, which had been bound for the Humber estuary, eventually sank the following morning.

Rescue by air

The vessel had been carrying grain from Lubeck in Germany.

Mario Siano, of Yarmouth coastguard, said the swelling of wheat on board the ship caused its hull to burst.

The coastguard was called after reports the Jork was listing heavily and six crew members wearing lifejackets had to be rescued from the sea.

Mr Karkowski remained on board to try to save the ship but also had to be rescued.

Two coastguard boats and an RAF rescue helicopter, from Wattisham airfield, Suffolk, attended the incident.

Gas supplier ConocoPhillips said only "very slight" damage had been caused to its platform.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch is looking into the cause of the crash.


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