Belgian fishing vessel sinks in North Sea; three rescued, two dead

Fishing vessel Sonja – Z 19 (IMO 7524627), sank in near gale-force winds in the North Sea on Saturday August 25th, off the coast of Great Yarmouth, UK.

The crew of cruise ship Pacific Princess (IMO 9187887) saw a distress flare and changed direction. It picked up three of the castaways 25 miles from Norfolk, four hours after the sinking. The initial plan had been to shelter the life raft until the Coastguard arrived, but at 18:30 local time a favourable position developed, permitting a fallreep to be deployed for the fishermen. One of them fell into the water, but was able to hold on to the gangway and be pulled back into the liferaft. He was successfully rescued at the second attempt.

After two hours the cruise ship resumed her journey from Rosyth to Dover, where the rescued seamen disembarked.

The bodies of the two missing men were discovered by the UK Coast Guard during the morning of August 26th.

1973-built, Belgium-flagged, 159 gt Sonja is owned and managed by Thysebaerdt BVBA of Damme, Belgium.