Dutch Suspend Search for Victims of North Sea Ship Collision

Posted December 6th, 2012 at 2:00 pm (UTC-5)
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Rescuers have called off a search for six missing crewmembers after a ship collision that killed five in the North Sea off the Dutch coast.

Dutch Coast Guard officials said Thursday that given the frigid water temperature and the time that has passed, it is unlikely more survivors will be found. Rescue efforts were hampered by cold air, snow and gale force winds.

Thirteen crew members from the cargo ship Baltic Ace were rescued by helicopter Wednesday and are expected to recover. The five bodies have been recovered.

Dutch police identified the dead as two Polish men, two Filipinos and a Ukrainian man.

The Bahamas-flagged carrier, with a crew of 24 and a load of cars headed for Finland, sank after being struck Wednesday by the container ship Corvus J in heavily traveled shipping lanes about 50 kilometers from the Dutch port of Rotterdam.

The Cyprus-flagged Corvus J was damaged but remained afloat, and Coast Guard officials said it was in no immediate danger of sinking. The vessel was heading for Antwerp, Belgium, when the crash occurred.

The cause of the collision was not immediately established.

The shipping lane where it occurred is one of the busiest in the North Sea and an important sea channel to Rotterdam, Europe's busiest port.