Early Tuesday 24th October, 2023 morning around 0500 hrs the Isle of Man (IOM) flag general cargo ship VERITY sank after she was involved in a collision with the Polish owned BHS flag bulker POLESIE.
She was underway to the Immingham ,UK, carrying steel from the northern German city of Bremen, when she collided with the POLESIE, which had departed from Hamburg on a journey to La Coruña in Spain. None of the 22 crew of the Polish bulker were injured.
The collision happened 14 miles southwest of the coast of Heligoland, a German archipelago which is part of the state of Schleswig-Holstein. 2 sea rescue cruisers from the German maritime search and rescue service, a German navy helicopter and a water police boat were used in the search efforts, the rescue service said. VERITY had a crew of 7 with at the time of the incident 4 crew were missing and 1 crew member fatality
Robby Renner, head of the German Central Command for Maritime Emergencies (CCME), said it was possible the missing people were still alive inside the ship. “There may be a chance – and I stress it is only a chance – that they are trapped in the ship’s hull,” he said. The CCME said conditions around the wreck were “very difficult”, with visibility of only one to two metres, and that strong currents had hampered rescue efforts.
Michael Ippich, director of the German Sea Rescue Society, said the temperature of the water was around 12C and that, if the missing crew were in the water, they would be able to survive for around 20 hours, depending on their physical condition and what equipment they had.
The P&O cruise ship IONA was bound for Rotterdam but paused in the vicinity of VERITY’s last known location to help with the rescue effort. Passengers were informed at around 0530 local time that the ship was helping with search efforts. The company confirmed that the IONA had fulfilled her obligations under “international and moral law”.
IONA aboard Passenger Gary Corbin wrote on Facebook: “Two freighters have collided close by us with the liner picked up 3 bodies. There are helicopters and rescue ships by us. We are involved in the search and rescue operation Not moving at moment.” Another holidaymaker Clive Baker said on Facebook: “Got woken by captain’s announcement at 5am this morning that we were pausing to assist if required. Several missing by the sounds of it.”
All photos of VERITY were taken at Valletta during her maiden call to Malta back to last 9th March, 2023