Hunt for four missing crew members of cargo ship Verity called off by German coast guard

25 October 2023, 09:21 | Updated: 25 October 2023, 09:42

Damaged freighter "Polesie" is dragged back to port after the two freighters collided in the North Sea off Helgoland
Damaged freighter "Polesie" is dragged back to port after the two freighters collided in the North Sea off Helgoland. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

German authorities have called off the search for four people missing from a cargo ship in the North Sea.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The British-flagged Verity sank following a collision with a larger vessel yesterday morning.

Two sailors were rescued and the body of another was recovered.

Germany's Central Command for Maritime Emergencies said the entire surrounding sea area was searched again through the night with no results, before the mission was eventually called off.

Search efforts on the surface will not be resumed on Wednesday but the emergency command will consider "what measures can be taken around the site of the accident in the course of the day."

Divers searched the water for the four missing crew. It was initially hoped they may be alive and trapped in the vessel on the sea bed.

Emergency divers did "everything humanly possible" in their efforts to find the missing crew members.

Robby Renner, the head of the emergency command, said on Tuesday afternoon: "We haven't found the missing people yet.

"Therefore we have to assume they can still be in the ship. Our rescue operation is in full swing. We are now doing everything humanely possible to rescue more people alive."

Search efforts for survivors were under way today
Search efforts for survivors were under way today. Picture: Facebook

It comes after it emerged a P&O cruise ship joined the frantic search for survivors after the Verity collided with cargo ship Polesie at around 3am on Tuesday morning near the German island of Helgoland.

The 300ft ship was carrying steel from Bremen in Germany to Immingham but sank following an impact.

The Verity sank after colliding with another ship
The Verity sank after colliding with another ship. Picture: Vessel Finder

Read more: Ministers to move Channel migrants out of 'luxury' country house hotels, in bid to slash £8 million daily bill

Read more: 'I went through hell': Freed hostage reveals details of nightmare ordeal after she was kidnapped by Hamas

Footage from on board the cruise liner P&O Iona,  which left Southampton three days ago for Hamburg, Rotterdam and Bruges in Belgium, shows passengers being given an update that they were ‘involved in a search and rescue operation.’

“We're looking for persons in the water from another vessel that has been involved in an incident earlier this morning,” passengers were told over the tannoy.

A desperate rescue effort is under way to find the missing crew members.
A desperate rescue effort is under way to find the missing crew members. Picture: PA

Germany's Central Command for Maritime Emergencies said previously two sailors had been rescued but the body of one man had been recovered following the incident.

A search and rescue operation began after the British-flagged Verity hit a larger cargo ship, Polesie, about 14 miles south-west of the German island of Heligoland at around 5am on Tuesday.

While the Bahamas-flagged Polesie stayed afloat, the Verity, which had departed from Bremen, Germany, and was destined for the port of Immingham on the east coast of England, sank.

Search spotlights on the water from the P&O cruise ship during the small hours of this morning
Search spotlights on the water from the P&O cruise ship during the small hours of this morning. Picture: Social Media

P&O said in a statement: "P&O Cruises' Iona is currently involved in a search and rescue operation off the coast of Germany.

"The incident is ongoing and Iona's co-operation complies with international maritime law as well as being consistent with the company's moral and legal obligations.

"Iona is scheduled to be at sea today and this event should have no impact upon tomorrow's scheduled call to Rotterdam or the onward itinerary."

Polesie is a much larger ship
Polesie is a much larger ship. Picture: Vessel Finder

One passenger on board the Iona told MailOnline: “We are on holiday but this is a very tragic situation. We cannot comprehend how the people involved in the collision must be feeling along with the family of the people who remain missing or have lost their lives.”

“You never know what’s going to happen in the world, we just all hope that the outcome does not become more tragic.”

A spokesman for Associated British Ports, which owns the port of Immingham, confirmed it the vessel was due to arrive there.

Two rescue cruisers, an emergency tug, a pilot boat, a police patrol boat and a helicopter took part in the search efforts.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Weather maps are turning red as a wave of heat makes a beeline for the UK, with temperatures set to soar across the country.

UK weather maps heat up as exact date 'North African plume' will see temperatures to hit 29C revealed

Conservatives have accused Keir Starmer of creating a £4.5billion tax black hole, casting doubt over their net zero spending plans.

Labour's net zero black hole? Tories accuse Starmer of £4.5bn budget shortfall as tax hikes loom

England beat Serbia 1-0 in tense first round Euro 2024 clash

England beat Serbia 1-0 after early goal from Jude Bellingham in tense first round Euro 2024 clash

England vs Serbia staring XI confirmed ahead of Three Lions' Euro 2024 clash

England vs Serbia staring XI confirmed as Gareth Southgate prepares for Three Lions' opening Euro 2024 clash

Police hunt 21-year-old man following death of boy, 12 in shocking hit-and-run

Police hunt 21-year-old man following death of boy, 12 in 'appalling' hit-and-run

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting

Wes Streeting urges doctors not to strike amid claims manifesto is not the ‘sum total’ of Labour's NHS spending

Clashes erupt between football fans in Gelsenkirchen ahead of England and Serbia's first Euro 2024 match

Clashes erupt between football fans in Gelsenkirchen as England beat Serbia 1-0 in opening Euro 2024 game

Southwark council raised more than £2.6 million by issuing 43,300 fines to motorists

Labour council urged to refund motorists after ‘unfairly’ fining thousands of drivers £2.6million

Police rammed the cow

Officer who rammed cow with police squad car removed from frontline duties

England fans in Gelsenkirchen

Thousands of England fans descend on Gelsenkirchen ahead of Three Lions' first Euro 2024 match against Serbia

Queues at Birmingham airport

Travel chaos strikes major UK airport as passengers stuck in lengthy queues

Police rammed the cow

Owner of cow rammed by police gives update on its condition and says officers should be fired for 'disgusting' incident

Officers shot a man threatening football fans in Hamburg

Man shot by police after brandishing 'axe and molotov cocktail' close to Euro 2024 fan zone

Labour's Wes Streeting has called for a debate with Nigel Farage

Labour's Wes Streeting calls for debate with Nigel Farage to take on 'toxic rhetoric' in 'battle of ideas'

Prince William's children have sent him a Father's Day message

'We love you papa': George, Charlotte and Louis send Prince William Father's Day message in first social media post

Labour and the Conservatives would leave the NHS 'worse off than under austerity', the Nuffield Trust has warned

Labour and Tories would leave NHS 'worse off' than under austerity, health think tank warns