Tow cable attached to out-of-control cargo ship off France

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  Feb. 1, 2016 at 7:09 AM
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PARIS, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Experts have successfully attached a tow line to an out-of-control cargo ship that was on a collision course with the French coast.

The maritime experts who boarded the ship to attach the tow cable had been evacuated before efforts began to move the vessel away from the coast. Officials warned the tow line could break.

The Modern Express would have crashed into France's southwestern coast between Monday night and Tuesday morning if was not stopped. The ship began listing on Monday and all 22 crew members were rescued by the Spanish coast guard after an emergency distress call.

Bad weather had continuously hindered efforts to right or tow the vessel. On Friday, a nearly 540-foot tow cable snapped in the rough seas.

The Panamanian-registered ship is carrying about 3,600 tons of timber and excavators, as well as about 300 tons of fuel. It was listing at an angle between 40 and 50 degrees.

Emergency measures were previously put in order in case the ship ran aground to contain and remove leaked fuel.

The Spanish coast guard released a video of Monday's rescue mission:

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