Search halted for missing crew of sunken British cargo ship Verity

The Verity had seven crew on board. Credit: Darren B Hillman/CC BY-ND 2.0

The search for missing crew members of a British cargo ship which sank in the North Sea has been called off.

Four members of the crew of the Verity are still unaccounted for after it sank following a crash with a larger ship in German waters on Tuesday.

One person was confirmed dead following the collision with the Polesie just before 5am on Tuesday. Two others were rescued.

Rescue ships, including a P&O cruise liner, along with aircraft, were involved in the search and rescue mission amid hopes that the missing crew members may may have survived and were sheltering on board.

Verity collided with the larger Polesie, a Bahamian ship travelling from Hamburg to La Coruna, Spain. Credit: Darren B Hillman/CC BY-ND 2.0

Officials said the water temperature at the time of the collision was about 12C, which is survivable for about 20 hours.

According to reports divers were sent down to the wreck but failed to find signs of life.

Germany’s Central Command for Maritime Emergencies said the sea area where the missing sailors were thought to have gone down had been searched during the night without success.

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

The Verity, which had seven people on board and was registered in the Isle of Man, was en route from Bremen to the port of Immingham, North East Lincolnshire, when the collision happened about 14 miles south-west of the German island of Heligoland.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.