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Captain 'in wrong gear' before ship crash

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Captain 'in wrong gear' before ship crash
Photo: DPA
08:55 CEST+02:00
The captain of the "Nils Holgersson" cruise liner is facing serious charges after the coast guard ruled out a technical defect in last week's accident in the northern German port of Travemünde.

Passengers on the cruiser were lucky to avoid a Costa Concordia-style disaster when the liner rammed into the "Urd" car ferry last Thursday. In the event, none of the 63 passengers were injured.

The 191-metre "Nils Holgersson" rammed the stationary "Urd" after it failed to turn sufficiently as it came into port. The collision ripped a 16-square-metre hole into the ferry's hull, including a vertical tear below the waterline.

"The ship collided with the ferry, which was in port, almost at a right angle," coast guard spokesman Karsten Dose told the Lübecker Nachrichten newspaper.

Using 'black box' data from the ship, coast guard investigators were able to establish that the engine was not set to "harbour mode", seriously limiting its manoeuvrability, and preventing the captain from reversing the ship.

The coast guard say this could only have been the captain's error, and they are currently attempting to find out how the accident happened. He is not thought to have been drinking.

The relatively undamaged "Nils Holgersson" has been taken to the Landskrona port in Sweden, while the heavily damaged "Urd" is currently still in the Travemünde port.

The Local/DPA/bk

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