The Polesie is pictured following its collision with the Verity in the German North Sea Bight

Bahamas-flagged freighter Polesie is pictured following its collision with British-flagged vessel Verity in the German North Sea Bight, as Germany's Central Command for Maritime Emergencies said on Tuesday, in this handout photo obtained by Reuters from German Maritime Search and Rescue Service DGzRS (Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Rettung Schiffbruechiger) October 24, 2023. Kai Twest/Havariekommando/Handout via REUTERS

Rescue Called Off for Missing Crew from UK-Flagged Ship

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October 25, 2023

By William Wilkes (Bloomberg) —

Rescuers abandoned efforts to find four missing sailors a day after a British cargo ship sank in the North Sea following a collision with a larger vessel.

“Due to the numerous operational resources – ships and helicopters – in the area, it was possible to completely search the sea area in question again at night,” Germany’s Central Command for Maritime Emergencies said Wednesday. “After this produced no results, the emergency services stopped the search.”

The UK-listed Verity and the much larger Polesie, a Bahamian-flagged cargo ship, crashed in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Two of the Verity’s crew were rescued; the body of one sailor killed in the incident was retrieved from the water, according to the CCME. All 22 crew of the Polesie were uninjured.

The Verity is 300 feet long and can carry 3,360 tonnes in cargo, fuel, crew and other materials and provisions. The Polesie is double the length and has about ten times the carrying capacity compared to the smaller ship, according to the website Vessel Finder.

The incident occurred about 12 nautical miles (22 kilometers) south west of Germany’s Helgoland island. The Polesie remains afloat with 22 people on board, according to a statement. A German navy Sea King helicopter as well as other coastguard vessels are involved in the search for the missing sailors, CCME said. 

Germany’s DWD federal weather service has issued a moderate gust warning for the area. The P&O cruise ship Iona is also assisting in the rescue mission and doctors aboard the vessel are ready to offer assistance to any rescued sailors, CCME said. 

The Verity was previously assisted by UK and Netherlands rescue teams after the boat’s engine failed off the coast of Devon in February 2016, according to Vessel Finder, a shipping website. The Verity at that time had a crew of seven sailors.

© 2023 Bloomberg L.P.

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