Three dead, 8 missing in North Sea cargo ship collision
"At this stage we don't know what caused the accident," said another coastguard spokesman, Peter Verburg: "Our first priority right now is the safety of the crew."
The shipping lane where the accident happened is one of the busiest in the North Sea and an important passing point for ships sailing into Rotterdam port, Europe's largest and the fifth-largest in the world.
Rotterdam port spokesman Sjaak Poppe told AFP the collision would not affect shipping in and out of the port.
In one of the most serious collisions in Dutch waters in recent years, the Greek crude oil tanker Mindoro in October 2010 collided with the container ship Jork Ranger off the coast of Scheveningen near The Hague, spilling thousands of litres of kerosene (jet fuel) into the sea, the European Maritime Safety Agency said on its website.
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