17 Dec 2011

Cargo ship aground on French coast

7:48 am on 17 December 2011

Storm winds and torrential rain in France have cut power supplies and sent a cargo ship aground off the coast of Brittany.

Maritime authorities are preparing to contain a 1km oil slick from the ship and empty its tanks of fuel.

The 19 sailors on the TK Bremen are reported to be safe.

The BBC reports about 200,000 homes are without electricity.

The storm, with winds of up to 130km per hour, has battered the northernmost Pas-de-Calais region and is moving eastward towards Belgium.

A nuclear power station at Blayais in the Gironde region is on a state of alert because of the storm.