A Spanish cargo ship has slammed into a jetty and split in two in choppy Atlantic Ocean waters off southwestern France. The 12-man crew was evacuated from the striken vessel by military helicopter.

The hold of the 100-metre ship, the Luno, was empty when the accident occurred along the coast of the town of Anglet, and a small amount of fuel was spilling into the water, officials said. The ship, which typically carries fertiliser, had been heading to a nearby port to load up with cargo when its engine failed and the rough waves carried it into the jetty.

The cargo ship's stern half drifted onto the shore, while the bow remained stuck on the rocky jetty.

France's west coast has been battered by high winds and waves in recent days.

AP best
A police officer looks at the two halves of a Spanish cargo ship that slammed into a jetty in choppy Atlantic Ocean waters and broke in two, off Anglet, southwestern FranceAP
An aerial view of the Spanish cargo ship that broke in two off the beach in Anglet on the Atlantic Coast of FranceReuters
A military helicopter flies over a Spanish cargo ship that slammed into a jetty in choppy Atlantic Ocean watersAP
waves birds
Waves crash against the Luno's bridge after it broke in two on a seawall off the beach in AngletReuters
People walk past one half of the shipwrecked vesselReuters
An aerial view show shows how the Spanish cargo ship carrying fertiliser broke in two after hitting the jettyReuters
rescue worker
A helicopter lowers a rescue worker towards the LunoAP
aerial waves
An aerial view of waves crashing against part of the cargo shipReuters
The stranded vessel lies behind a defaced warning signReuters