Stricken tanker en route to Belfast

 

A tanker carrying hazardous cargo has been given permission to berth at Belfast port after reporting a cracked hull off the north-west coast.

The 228 metre vessel, named as Germar Companion, has a hazardous cargo of 54,000 tonnes of vacuum gas oil on board.

The Bahamas-registered vessel has 23 crew on board and is expected in Belfast at 8pm. The vessel is traveling at about 12 knots and is currently some 25km north of Malin Head.

It was en route from the Dutch port of Rotterdam to New York when it reported cracks in its upper deck off the north-west Irish coast.

Heavy seas resulted in a record 20 metre wave being recorded by Met Éireann off the Donegal coast earlier this week.

The Irish Coast Guard is monitoring the situation but both the Air Corps and Naval Service have been stood down. The Navy's patrol vessel  'LE Niamh' has returned to port.