British seaman charged with negligent manslaughter in Denmark over fatal cargo ship crash


British seaman, 30, ‘who was drunk’ when his cargo ship smashed into a Danish vessel off Sweden killing two sailors is charged with negligent manslaughter in Denmark

  • Two crew members of the Danish-flagged Karin Hoj were killed in December
  • Freighter collided with British Scot Carrier in the Baltic Sea off southern Sweden
  • It began to take on water and capsized immediately, officials said at the time
  • Officials have accused the British suspect of being drunk on his watch
  • In addition to negligent manslaughter, he was also charged with maritime drunkenness, negligence in maritime traffic and failing to provide help 

Danish authorities on Tuesday charged a 30-year-old British seaman with negligent manslaughter over a fatal cargo ship collision last year that killed two people.

The two crew members of the 180ft Danish-flagged Karin Hoj perished on December 13 after the freighter collided with the British Scot Carrier in the Baltic Sea off southern Sweden and capsized, without sinking.

Officials said the ‘particularly aggravating’ factor in the crash was that the suspect was allegedly drunk on his watch. 

Danish authorities on Tuesday charged a 30-year-old British seaman with negligent manslaughter over a fatal cargo ship collision last year that killed two people. Pictured: Divers work on the capsized Danish cargo ship Karin Hoej which collided with the British cargo ship Scot Carrier on December 13, 2021

Danish authorities on Tuesday charged a 30-year-old British seaman with negligent manslaughter over a fatal cargo ship collision last year that killed two people. Pictured: Divers work on the capsized Danish cargo ship Karin Hoej which collided with the British cargo ship Scot Carrier on December 13, 2021

The British seaman, who has not been named, was the duty mate on the much larger 295 ft Scot Carrier, according to Danish authorities.

In addition to negligent manslaughter, he was also charged with maritime drunkenness, negligence in maritime traffic and failing to provide help or assistance to the crew of the Karin Hoj.

He was arrested just after the collision by Swedish police and extradited to Denmark in February after he had his appeal in both Sweden’s Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court rejected. He has since been held in pre-trial custody.

The court case is due to begin in the Copenhagen City Court on June 16 with a ruling expected on June 23, the police said. An investigation into the incident has been underway since December.

The cargo ships collided south of Ystad in Sweden, close to the Danish island of Bornholm, leaving the two seamen missing. 

A search operation by air and sea eventually located one body. The second remains missing, according to Danish reports.

The British cargo ship Scot Carrier (pictured) is seen with damages to the bow in December. Officials said the 'particularly aggravating' factor in the crash was that the British suspect - who have not been named - was allegedly drunk on his watch

The British cargo ship Scot Carrier (pictured) is seen with damages to the bow in December. Officials said the ‘particularly aggravating’ factor in the crash was that the British suspect – who have not been named – was allegedly drunk on his watch

The British seaman, who has not been named, was the duty mate on the much larger 295 ft Scot Carrier, according to Danish authorities

The British seaman, who has not been named, was the duty mate on the much larger 295 ft Scot Carrier, according to Danish authorities

Two crew members of the 180ft Danish-flagged Karin Hoj (pictured capsized) were killed after the freighter collided on December 13 with the British Scot Carrier in the Baltic Sea off southern Sweden and capsized, without sinking

Two crew members of the 180ft Danish-flagged Karin Hoj (pictured capsized) were killed after the freighter collided on December 13 with the British Scot Carrier in the Baltic Sea off southern Sweden and capsized, without sinking

Rescue workers work aboard the Danish cargo ship Karin Hoej which collided with the British cargo ship Scot Carrier between Ystad and Bornholm, on the Baltic Sea December 13, 2021

Rescue workers work aboard the Danish cargo ship Karin Hoej which collided with the British cargo ship Scot Carrier between Ystad and Bornholm, on the Baltic Sea December 13, 2021

Rescuers said in December that the Scot’s crew admitted they ‘may have hit something’ before trying to sail away from the scene and had to be stopped from leaving, Swedish news outlet Expressen reported at the time.

Ship tracking data showed the Scot did sail away from the crash site, before turning back along a meandering course and coming to a stop. The Karin was carrying no cargo at the time of the accident.

The Scot Carrier, registered in Inverness and built in 2018, was en-route from Salacgriva in northern Latvia to Montrose in Scotland when it crashed.

Karin Hoej, built in 1977, was on its way from Sodertalje, just south of the Swedish capital Stockholm, to Nykobing Falster in southern Denmark.

Both vessels were sailing in the same direction – east to west – through the 25-mile gap between Sweden’s southern tip and Bornholm island when the crash happened. 

The Scot caused a large hole in the side of the Karin, and caused it to take on water. 

The Danish cargo ship Karin Hoej is pictured (right) after it collided in the British cargo ship Scot Carrier in the Baltic sea between the Swedish city of Ystad and the Danish island Bornholm early morning 13 December 2021. A rescue plane is seen in the skies above

The Danish cargo ship Karin Hoej is pictured (right) after it collided in the British cargo ship Scot Carrier in the Baltic sea between the Swedish city of Ystad and the Danish island Bornholm early morning 13 December 2021. A rescue plane is seen in the skies above

Both vessels were sailing in the same direction - east to west - through the 25-mile gap between Sweden's southern tip and Bornholm island when they crashed on Monday, Dec. 13

Both vessels were sailing in the same direction – east to west – through the 25-mile gap between Sweden’s southern tip and Bornholm island when they crashed on Monday, Dec. 13

Karin Hoej, built in 1977, was on its way from Sodertalje, just south of the Swedish capital Stockholm, to Nykobing Falster in southern Denmark

Karin Hoej, built in 1977, was on its way from Sodertalje, just south of the Swedish capital Stockholm, to Nykobing Falster in southern Denmark

The smaller vessel capsized ‘almost immediately’, the head of Sweden’s maritime rescue agency said at the time, with rescuers reporting ‘screams’ in the water around the Karin at roughly 4.45am.

A huge rescue operation was launched, involving 10 boats from Sweden’s Sea Rescue and the Coast Guard, as well as planes and helicopters. 

Pictures at the time showed emergency responders standing on the copper-coloured up-turned hull of the Karin as they carried out a search operation.

On the day of the crash, the search was called off after seven hours when no sign of the men was found, before divers discovered the body of one man in the ship’s hull.

The other is still missing, but on May 5, Copenhagen Police officially announced that both were now considered dead.

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