AT SEA, OFF BELGIUM
Three Dutch divers inspected the wreck of the sunken French freighter Mont Louis on August 28, prior to attempts to salvage its nuclear cargo.
AT SEA, OFF BELGIUM
AUGUST 28 (BRT)
1. GV Capsized French cargo ship lying on its in channel. 0.04
2. CU & SV People collecting water for testing. (3 SHOTS) 0.36
3. GV Capsized cargo ship. 0.45
AUGUST 27 (BBC - COMMENTARY)
4. AERIAL VIEWS Nearly wholly submerged Mont Louis. (2 SHOTS) 0.59
5. GV French warship, a tug and a survey vessel at sea. 1.03
6. GV PANS Belgian coastguard vessel. 1.09
7. GV Bouy and a sailing boat sailing nearby. (2 SHOTS) 1.17
8. GV Security instructing boat to leave area. 1.22
9. GV & SV Salvage boat and salvage crew. (2 SHOTS) 1.28
10. GV ZOOM OUT Helicopter hovering near ship. 1.36
11. AERIAL VIEW Submerged Mont Louis. 1.43
AUGUST 26 (BBC - COMMENTARY)
12. GV OLAU ferry at dock in UK. 1.52
13. GV Seamen throwing ropes to fasten ship to dock. 1.55
14. GV ZOOM Damaged bow of ship OLAU. 2.00
15. SV Passengers disembark from ship. 2.07
16. CU Young woman speaking. (SOT) 2.15
17. CU Woman speaking. (SOT) 2.25
18. CU Ian Hayward, member of OLAU crew, speaking. (SOT) 2.35
TRANSCRIPT: YOUNG WOMEN: (SEQ 16) " I saw the tip of the bow, it was scrunched, and it went right between the first two decks - the upper deck and the main deck of the other boat."
OTHER WOMAN: (SEQ 17) "It just stayed there for hours and hours, the ship and everybody panicked. Lifebelts came out and everything came off shelves in the duty free shop."
CREW MEMBER: (SEQ 18)The front of the ship was like halfway through the French boat and we pulled away, 'cor, you'd never see anything again like that in your life. It pulled away just in a matter of seconds as she went down."
NOTE TO EDITORS: THIS STORY HAS COMMENTARY BY BBC REPORTERS PHILIP HAYTON AND SEAN WALSH, WHICH MAY BE USED IF REQUIRED.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: AT SEA, OFF BELGIUM
Three Dutch divers inspected the wreck of the sunken French freighter Mont Louis on August 28, prior to attempts to salvage its nuclear cargo. The Mont Louis sank in 15 metres (50 feet) of water some fifteen kilometres (10 miles off Ostend on August 25 after a collision with a ferry bound for Britain. A spokesman for Dutch salvage company Smit International said three or more divers would join a further inspection on August 29. The Dutch company said it was confident the cargo of 240 tons of radioactive uranium hexafluoride could be raised, but the task might take three weeks. The French government says there is no danger of a leak of radioactivity but has urged a quick start to the salvage operation. The Dutch company, together with Belgium's Union de Remorquage et de Sauvetage, won a contract from the owners of the Mont Louis, Compagnie Generale Maritime. Environmental groups have vigorously protested the incident. A spokesman for the French Nuclear Protection and Safety Institute said the risk of radiation leakage into the sea is very light because the cargo was packed in safety containers. France is one of the nearly 40 nations, including most major shippers, which have adopted transport safety regulations set out by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). There has been no suggestion that the Mont Louis had failed to comply with the safeguards, but the international ecology movement Greenpeace and Britain's National Union of Seamen contend that the safeguards are inadequate. At the wreck site, a Belgian navy vessel was dispersing pollution from spilled fuel, and research vessels have been testing the water for radioactivity.