German authorities plan to recover the wreck of cargo ship Verity (IMO 9229178), which sank on October 24th after colliding with the much larger bulk carrier Polesie (IMO 9488097) in the North Sea.
The Verity is currently sitting in one piece on the seafloor, about 30 metres down. The collision occurred about 14 miles southwest of Heligoland in one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
Meanwhile the public prosecutor’s office in Germany stated that the body that was recovered shortly after the collision had been identified as the Captain of the Verity. The 48-year-old Philippines national was believed to have drowned. The prosecutor said that the four other missing crewmembers from the Verity were between the ages of 43 and 47, and that they were from Indonesia, the Philippines, and Russia. All were believed to have died as a result of the collision and sinking. Two crewmembers survived, both of them reported to be from the Philippines. They were currently in Bremen, Germany.
Investigators from the UK and Germany interviewed the bridge team aboard the Polesie after the vessel docked in Cuxhaven the day after the collision. They reported that the information from the ship’s data recorder had also been secured. Germany’s Federal Office for Maritime Casualty would be conducting witness interviews. It would also be reviewing communication data, weather conditions, and data from the operations of the Verity.
The Verity had left Bremen, Germany on October 23rd and was travelling to Immingham on the east coast of England, with a cargo of sheet steel. The Polesie had left Hamburg on the same day and was heading for La Coruna in north-west Spain. The German authorities released the ship on October 28th.
Divers were preparing to go to the Verity to begin the salvage operation, Germany’s General Directorate of Waterways and Shipping said late last week. Storm Ciaran had delayed the beginning of the operation. Before that the divers had been hampered by strong currents.
The initial part of the salvage operation will be to remove the cargo of sheet steel from the ship. The hull will be inspected for any damage that might need to be repaired prior to refloating.
The salvage operation was expected to be completed before year-end.
The prosecutor’s office in Hamburg within days was reported to be investigating a potential case of criminally negligent homicide. On Friday November 3rd the investigators noted that it could take a year to release a final report on the causes of the collision and recommendations.
2001-built, Isle Of Man-registered, 2,601 gt Verity is owned and managed by Caspar Chartering Ltd of Immingham, UK. ISM manager is Faversham Ships Ltd of East Cowes, UK. It is entered with NorthStandard on behalf of Noord Nederlandsche P&I Club. NNPC records it as entered on behalf of Faversham Ships Ltd.
2009-built, Bahamas-flagged, 24,055 gt Polesie is owned by Ares Nine Shipping Ltd care of manager Polska Zegluga Morska PP (Polsteam) of Szczecin, Poland. It is entered with Britannia on behalf of Ares Nine Shipping Ltd. As of November 4th the vessel remained at anchor in the English Channel, with La Coruna no longer listed as a destination.