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Repairs start on 'pollution scare' tugboat

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 16, 2013

The Emsstrom going down off Tor Bay. Picture by Richard Austin

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A stricken tug which sparked major pollution fears for the Devon coast was safely at anchor yesterday undergoing repairs.

The Christos XXII, which was travelling from Germany to Turkey, was trying to anchor a mile off Hope's Nose in Torbay when it was hit by the decommissioned naval training ship Emsstrom.

The tug rapidly took on water and the crew of eight men were rescued after sending out a May Day call at around 9pm on Sunday.

It was feared that if the Christos XXII sank, it could leak its 200 tonnes of diesel on to nearby beaches. Pumps were put aboard and temporary repairs carried out on the 40cm (16in) gash which had been torn in her hull.

The Emsstrom, which had been stripped down ready for scrapping, was listing heavily for hours following the incident and sunk on Monday afternoon. Coastguard said the vessel was a bare hull and not a pollution risk.

The Christos arrived off Portland yesterday morning. It was anchored in Weymouth Bay before being allowed into port for repair work.

A meeting was held yesterday afternoon to discuss the long-term future of the Emsstrom and whether the hull will be salvaged or left on the seabed. The final decision is not yet known.

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