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Last Updated: Friday, 12 January 2007, 08:49 GMT
Drifting ship avoids hitting rigs
Shot of the Vindo in the North Sea
The Vindo missed the second rig by 700 yards

A drifting 4,500-tonne cargo ship has narrowly avoided colliding with two gas platforms in the North Sea.

The Vindo, which suffered engine failure on Thursday afternoon, missed one of the rigs by just 700 yds (630m), the coastguard said.

The alarm was raised as the ship's engines failed in a force 10 gale leaving it adrift 75 miles off the Lincolnshire coast.

Later an attempt will be made to attach a tow line and bring it into port.

'Very lucky'

The Vindo first began to drift towards the Murdoch gas platform - about 75 miles east of Theddlethorpe St Helen - forcing the RAF to winch its workforce to safety.

The ship's crew dropped anchor in an attempt to slow the drift but they were forced to raise it to avoid hitting gas pipelines in the area.

The nine-man crew then managed to restart the engines giving them sufficient power to avert the threat of a collision.

But the vessel again lost power and began drifting towards the Caister platform which is unmanned.

A coastguard spokesman said: "It has cleared the second platform by 700 yards so we have been very lucky that is has missed two platforms now.

"The rescue tug is en route and its expected time of rendezvous is 9am."

The spokesman added that no other platforms were in the Vindo's path and another tug, the Putford Viking, remained on standby.

Weather conditions in the North Sea remain poor with high winds.

In September last year the 90m-long Vindo crashed into another large cargo vessel, Dealer, after failing to respond to radio messages.

Nobody was injured in the incident, which took place 17 miles off the coast of North Foreland, Kent.

Boat loses power after wave hits
12 Jan 07 |  North East/N Isles

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