One dead, four missing after freighters collide in North Sea

BERLIN (Reuters) – One body has been recovered, two people have been rescued, and four are missing after two freighters collided in the North Sea off the coast of Germany, the maritime emergency authority said on Tuesday.

The Verity, which the Central Command for Maritime Emergencies said had sunk, had been on its way from Bremen to the English town of Immingham with seven crew members on board. The Polesie was sailing from Hamburg to La Coruna in Spain.

The four missing crew members may be alive and sheltering inside the vessel on the sea floor, a spokesperson said during a press conference later, adding a team of divers was looking for signs of life.

The Verity was carrying steel and had 1,300 cubic metres of diesel on board, the spokesperson added.

The ship collided with the Polesie at around 0300 GMT about 12 nautical miles (22 kilometres) southwest of Germany’s Heligoland archipelago.

The Polesie had 22 people on board, none of whom were injured, the central command said.

One rescued man was taken to a hospital on land and the other was on his way to hospital on board the German maritime rescue cruiser Hermann Marwede, it added.

A cruise ship operated by P&O Cruises was involved in the search operation, a spokesperson for the company said.

Authorities reported strong winds in the area and waves of up to three metres.

(Reporting by Rachel More in Berlin and Sachin Ravikumar in London; Writing by Friederike Heine; Editing by Alison Williams and Mark Potter)