The barge, the Karin Hoj, was 55 meters to the Scot Carrier’s 90 meters. The smaller vessel overturned in the crash, Reuters reports. Swedish authorities towed the barge to shallow waters so divers could probe the hull at relatively low risk.
It was there that they found the body of one of the barge’s two Danish crew members. The Swedish Maritime Administration and local police announced the find on Monday, dashing hopes that the crew members might have survived within an air pocket inside the hull—something that has been known to happen. Although, the likelihood of survival in such a situation is extremely low, even with a prompt rescue effort.
Cargo Ship Crew Members Are in Custody
The Swedish Prosecution Authority then revealed in a statement that it is investigating multiple alleged crimes. Among them are marine intoxication, gross negligence in maritime traffic, and causing death through negligence. And it appears that some of the allegations have teeth.
One British and one Croatian suspect are in Swedish custody in connection with that investigation. Prosecutors had no further information at this time. But they said the investigation is ongoing.
Vessel Finder reports that in the aftermath of the collision, the crew members of the Scot Carrier all underwent drug and alcohol tests. Two crew members reportedly surpassed the legal limit.
Tragically, the Danish crew members do not appear to have had time to begin evacuating the barge. The Danish Defence Joint Operations Centre claimed there was no evidence that the crew members had tried to use lifeboats or emergency equipment.
Companies Involved Confirm Accident, Cooperate with Authorities
The Scot Carrier’s owner, Scotline, told Reuters it could not comment on the details of the accident. But it said it was cooperating with local authorities. The parent company confirmed to Vessel Finder that they have strict drug and alcohol rules and a zero-tolerance policy for breaches of those rules.
The barge’s owner, Rederiet Hoj, told Reuters it could confirm there was an accident but said the circumstances of the accident remained unclear.
The barge had been sailing from Sweden to southern Denmark and was free of cargo. The cargo ship was headed to Montrose on Scotland’s east coast. It is not known what, if anything, it was carrying.
The Swedish waters where the accident took place are busy with maritime traffic. Accidents there are unusual, however. The last known incident occurred in 2006 when a small Danish ship sank after colliding with a Swedish boat. In that case, the crew all managed to jump overboard and were rescued alive.