Twelve rescued after Spanish cargo ship splits in two on French coast

Hundred-metre vessel crashed into rocks after its engine failed

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The Independent Online

Twelve people have had to be rescued from a Spanish cargo ship after it collided with a breakwater off the French coast.

The 100m vessel, named "The Luno", crashed into a breakwater on the coast of Anglet after its engine failed, causing the ship to split in two as it collided.

The ship, believed to be carrying fertiliser, had initially been heading to a nearby port to load up cargo before the crash occurred.

Attempts to rescue crew members on board proved to be difficult after recent storms affecting the South west coast of France had made the conditions tough.

However, a lifeguard on board managed to help crew members to safety before being airlifted away by helicopter. It has been reported that none of the crew members were seriously hurt, although one person was treated after suffering a nose injury.

An eyewitness told BBC News that he thought the rescue operation was "brave considering the state of the sea". 

He said: "When I arrived the vessel was anchored facing the sea wall. The waves forced the ship on the rocks, where it broke away very quickly."

Local authorities have raised a pollution warning after fuel from the ship contaminated water near the shore.