The crew of NSB Niederelbe's 6,732-teu MSC Flaminia (built 2001) have abandoned ship with four of the 25 seafarers reported to have suffered injuries and one missing.
A rescue is currently underway with the 311,000-dwt tanker DS Crown (built 1999) which trades as part of the Frontline fleet the nearest vessel able to provide assistance to the crew who took to a lifeboat and liferaft.
The injured crew have been transferred to the 6,402-teu containership MSC Stella (built 2004) which is diverting to take them to the Azores.
The incident happened about 1,000 miles from the Canadian and UK coasts so beyond the range of rescue helicopters.
Six other merchant ship have offered to come to the assistance of the MSC Flaminia but are more than six hours away from the location of the casualty.
The crew of the MSC Flaminia include German, Polish and Filipino nationals.
There are winds of force three to four and a swell of one metre at the scene of the casualty.
The MSC Flaminia on a 16 year charter from delivery to Mediterranean Shipping Co has hull as well as protection and indemnity cover from the Swedish Club.
The Swedish Club also had the hull and P&I cover on another MSC chartered vessel, the MSC Rena, which was the second biggest insurance loss of the last year after the Costa Concordia.