France’s Maritime Prefect says it was alerted at 15:40 local time of a collision involving the Maltese-flagged freighter Britannica HAV and the fishing Deborah, flying the Belgian flag. The collision occurred about 50 nautical miles northeast of Cherbourg, France, to the south-west of the Dover Strait.

All seven crew members of the cargo ship evacuated to two life rafts and were recovered by the fishing vessel.

According to the Maritime Prefect, the Britannica sustained damage on its port side at its centre. Four 15-by-20-foot bilge boards were separated from the vessel and adrift, the agency reported.

Photos of the Britannica show the cargo ship turned over, with the wreck reported to be drifting to the west at 3 knots.

The Britannica HAV reported to be carrying a cargo of 1,955 tonnes of steel. A small oil sheen has been observed in the water surrounding the wreck, according to the Maritime Prefect.

The captain of the fishing vessel sustained a minor head injury, but otherwise no injuries were reported.

The French rescue tug Abeille Liberté has been dispatched to the scene along with French coastal police boat to monitor the wreck.

A helicopter with the French Navy has reportedly evacuated the seven crew members of the cargo ship to land.

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