World

2 ships collide off port of Zeebrugge in Belgian waters; crew of 11 rescued

  • In this photo provided by the VBZR Vrijwillige Blankenbergse Zee Reddingsdienst, the Dutch cargo ship Flinterstar sinks off of the Belgian coast near Zeebrugge, Belgium on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. The Dutch registered cargo ship sank off the Belgian coast after colliding with a gas tanker early Tuesday morning. The VBZR is a government approved search and rescue organization run entirely by volunteers. (VBZR Vrijwillige Blankenbergse Zee Reddingsdienst via AP)

    In this photo provided by the VBZR Vrijwillige Blankenbergse Zee Reddingsdienst, the Dutch cargo ship Flinterstar sinks off of the Belgian coast near Zeebrugge, Belgium on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. The Dutch registered cargo ship sank off the Belgian coast after colliding with a gas tanker early Tuesday morning. The VBZR is a government approved search and rescue organization run entirely by volunteers. (VBZR Vrijwillige Blankenbergse Zee Reddingsdienst via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo provided by the VBZR Vrijwillige Blankenbergse Zee Reddingsdienst, the Dutch cargo ship Flinterstar sinks off of the Belgian coast near Zeebrugge, Belgium on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. The Dutch registered cargo ship sank off the Belgian coast after colliding with a gas tanker early Tuesday morning. The VBZR is a government approved search and rescue organization run entirely by volunteers. (VBZR Vrijwillige Blankenbergse Zee Reddingsdienst via AP)

    In this photo provided by the VBZR Vrijwillige Blankenbergse Zee Reddingsdienst, the Dutch cargo ship Flinterstar sinks off of the Belgian coast near Zeebrugge, Belgium on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. The Dutch registered cargo ship sank off the Belgian coast after colliding with a gas tanker early Tuesday morning. The VBZR is a government approved search and rescue organization run entirely by volunteers. (VBZR Vrijwillige Blankenbergse Zee Reddingsdienst via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo provided by the VBZR Vrijwillige Blankenbergse Zee Reddingsdienst, the Dutch cargo ship Flinterstar sinks off of the Belgian coast near Zeebrugge, Belgium on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. The Dutch registered cargo ship sank off the Belgian coast after colliding with a gas tanker early Tuesday morning. The VBZR is a government approved search and rescue organization run entirely by volunteers. (VBZR Vrijwillige Blankenbergse Zee Reddingsdienst via AP)

    In this photo provided by the VBZR Vrijwillige Blankenbergse Zee Reddingsdienst, the Dutch cargo ship Flinterstar sinks off of the Belgian coast near Zeebrugge, Belgium on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. The Dutch registered cargo ship sank off the Belgian coast after colliding with a gas tanker early Tuesday morning. The VBZR is a government approved search and rescue organization run entirely by volunteers. (VBZR Vrijwillige Blankenbergse Zee Reddingsdienst via AP)  (The Associated Press)

A Dutch cargo ship sank off the Belgian coast after colliding with a gas tanker early Tuesday. The crew of 11 was rescued.

The accident happened close to the busy waterway off the port of Zeebrugge which many ships use on their way to Europe's major ports to Rotterdam and Antwerp.

Provincial governor Carl Decaluwe told VRT radio that "some 20 ships were involved in the rescue because there is little time to save people considering the hour and temperatures." The collision happened just after 4 a.m. with air temperatures below 10 Celsius (50 Fahrenheit).

There were no immediate reports of major environmental damage. The gas tanker was anchored off Zeebrugge after the collision to assess the damage.