An oil tanker and a bulk carrier have smashed into each other in the English Channel.
The RNLI, which sent lifeboats to the scene, has described the crash as a “major collision”.
Britain’s coastguard received a call shortly after 2am this morning, reporting the incident in the narrow Dover Strait – the world’s busiest shipping lane.
The Hong Kong-registered 600ft tanker, the Seafrontier, was carrying 37,953 metric tonnes of petrol and had 27 people on board. It was heading to Puerto Barrios in Guatemala.
The 75,000-ton 738ft bulk carrier, Huayang Endeavour, also registered in Hong Kong, was en route to Lagos Nigeria. Carrying only ballast, it had a crew of 22.
Both vessels were at a complete stop, the RNLI said.
The Seafrontier was reported to have a gash in the hull above the waterline and damage to the superstructure.
The second vessel is also reported to have been damaged in the crash, but neither are thought to be taking on water and there was no pollution.