Four Dead, Seven Missing as Cargo Ship Sinks Off Netherlands Coast

13 crew members have been rescued and taken to safety

A cargo ship collision in the North Sea has led to the death of at least four crew members. Coast Guard reports put the vessel 65km (40 miles) off the coast of the Netherlands.

As the 148-meter (485-feet) Baltic Ace sank on December 5, 4 sailors have been killed and several others remain missing. A rescue mission is being performed, in an effort to locate other survivors.

Seven members of the ship's staff are unaccounted for, Coast Guard spokesman Marcel Oldenburger states. So far, 13 sailors have been rescued and taken to safety.

"We can confirm that four bodies have been found, along with 13 people rescued alive,'' he says.

Helicopters and navy patrol ships were deployed for the search mission. The rescue operation was made difficult by the fact that the incident happened at night.

"At the moment we are solely focused on getting the people to safety," Coast Guard rep Peter Verburg adds.

Crewmen on the other vessel involved in the collision, the 134-meter (439-feet) Corvus J., are also staying behind, looking for the 7 people still at sea. The container transporter was also damaged from the hit; however, the Coast Guard assesses that it is at no risk of sinking.

"It is badly damaged, but not in danger of sinking," Verburg explains.

The cause of the accident still remains unidentified, yet Verburg has stated that an investigation is on its way. The cargo ship collided with the Corvus J., which was traveling to Grangemouth in Scotland from Antwerp, in Belgium.

They intersected in the proximity of busy shipping lanes, blocking traffic in the Rotterdam port area.

24 sailors were on the Baltic Ace when it smashed into the container ship. The vessel was transporting cars, Al Jazeera informs. It had departed from Zeebrugge, in Belgium, and was heading to Kotka, in Finland.

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