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Cargo Vessel Stranded Near French Port of Lorient in High Winds

Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) -- The TK Bremen, a 109-meter (358-foot) cargo vessel, is stranded on the Atlantic coast near the French port of Lorient in high winds, France’s maritime administration for the Atlantic Ocean said.

The Bremen sent an alert at 2 a.m. it had run aground, and the 19 crew were rescued by helicopter in two airlifts starting around 3 a.m., the Prefecture Maritime de l’Atlantique said in a report on its website today. A leak in one of the fuel holds caused local coastal pollution, the administration said.

The Malta-flagged Bremen, which was carrying ballast, had quit Lorient port in southern Brittany yesterday afternoon to anchor north of the island of Groix to await better weather conditions before heading to the U.K., according to the report. Winds in the area were 80 kilometers (50 miles) an hour with gusts of 115 kilometers an hour, the administration said.

“Having great difficulty keeping its anchorage, it tried to reach another, more sheltered one, and started drifting,” the Prefecture Maritime said.

The cargo vessel called for assistance at 12:40 a.m., and poor weather conditions meant a port tug from Lorient was unable to go to sea, the report said. The high-seas salvage tug Abeille Bourbon set sail at 1:36 a.m. from the island of Ouessant, about 100 miles to the northwest, to assist the Bremen, the administration said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at rruitenberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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