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North Sea Ship Collision Kills Five as Car Carrier Sinks

Five crew members died and six are missing after a cargo vessel carrying 1,417 Mitsubishi Motors Corp. cars collided with a container ship in the North Sea late yesterday, the Dutch coast guard said.

The Baltic Ace sank shortly after colliding with container vessel Corvus J, the coast guard said on its website. Five bodies have been recovered and 13 crew members were saved. The search for the remaining six has stopped and won’t be resumed as there’s no hope for survivors, the coast guard said.

“The Mitsubishi cars bound for Russia have been lost,” Mitsubishi spokesman Daniel Nacass said by e-mail, adding that the Tokyo-based carmaker is “deeply sorry for the tragic loss of lives.”

The Bahamian-flagged Baltic Ace was headed to Kotka, Finland, from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge, when it collided about 65 kilometers (40 miles) off the southeastern coast of the Netherlands with Cyprus-flagged Corvus J, which was on its way to Antwerp from the Scottish town of Grangemouth, the coast guard said.

Mitsubishi is assessing the impact of the accident on its Russian distributor and dealers, and will try to limit the delay to Russian customers, Nacass said.

Peter Westenberg, a spokesman for the coast guard, declined to speculate on the cause for the collision, saying police will investigate.

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