Collision with Polish ship in North Sea; second ship sinks, there are casualties

On Tuesday, early in the morning of 24 October, a collision occurred between two ships in the German Bay. The Polish bulk carrier Polesie and the small British multipurpose vessel Verity collided. All indications are that the smaller of the ships involved in the collision sank. Several people were reported missing.

A ship collision occurred in the German Bay early Tuesday morning (around 5 a.m.). In the area of the approaches to Bremerhaven, Hamburg and the Kiel Canal, about 12 nautical miles (22 kilometres) south-west of Helgoland Island and 17 nautical miles (31 kilometres) north-east of Langeoog Island, the cargo ships Polesie, owned by Polish Shipping from Szczecin, and Verity of British shipowner Casper Chartering Ltd, under the technical management of Faversham Ships Ltd, also from the UK, collided.

The Havariekommando (The Central Command for Maritime Emergencies), which took overall command of the salvage operation, assumes that Verity sank due to a collision. One person was rescued from the water and received medical attention. Several other people are currently missing. The search for survivors is ongoing. Many vessels are being dispatched for this purpose. The vessel remains afloat, but it has not been specified whether it is taking on water and is in danger. There are 22 people on board.

The Polish ship immediately turned back after the collision and began searching for possible survivors in the collision area.

The search is currently being conducted by the rescue vessels Hermann Marwede (Deutsche Bucht / Helgoland rescue station) and Bernhard Gruben (Hooksiel station) of the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service (DGzRS), the rescue tug Nordic, the pilot boat Wangerooge, the Sylt water police boat and the German navy’s Sea King SAR helicopter.

The rescue vessel Hermann Marwede is currently coordinating the search at the scene. The rescue vessel Anneliese Kramer (DGzRS, station Cuxhaven), the research vessel Atair (Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency), the multipurpose vessel Mellum (Waterways and Shipping Administration) and the water police boat W 3 are also due to enter or have already entered the accident scene.

In addition, the command ordered a DO228 sensor aircraft to fly over the maritime area to obtain further information. The cruise ship Iona is in the maritime area and supports the search. Medical care is also available on board the Iona – there are doctors on board. Additional medical personnel are being transported to the accident site by helicopter.

The wind strength in the search area is six degrees Beaufort, and the wave height is up to three metres.

Verity (IMO No. 9229178; flag state – Isle of Man; year of construction 2001; GT 2601; deadweight 3360t; length 91m, breadth 14m) was en route from Bremen to Immingham in the UK at the time of the accident. The bulk carrier Polesie (IMO No. 9488097; flag state – Bahamas; year of construction 2009; GT 24 055; deadweight 38 069 t; length: 190 m, width 29 m) was en route from Hamburg to La Coruña, Spain.

There is a crew of 22 on board the Polesie. All are safe.


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