Tyne & Wear

Search for missing North Shields fisherman under way

The search is continuing for one of two Tyneside brothers who were on board a trawler that collided with a passenger ferry in the North Sea.

The 16-year-old from North Shields, was on the Homeland prawn trawler with his 20-year-old brother when it collided with the Scottish Viking ferry.

The incident happened off the coast of St Abbs in Eyemouth, Berwickshire, on Thursday night.

The elder brother was pulled from the water by another fishing boat.

Four lifeboat crews and up to 20 fishing vessels were scanning an area of just under five square miles.

Coastguards said it was not known if the teenager was wearing a life jacket, though some were found at the scene.

Scottish Viking ferry
The ferry was travelling from Scotland to Belgium

The search and rescue mission, co-ordinated by Forth Coastguard, will be reviewed later as the chances of his survival in the open water fade.

Fred Caygill, of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), said: "The survivability period for someone in the water has passed.

"Different factors affect different people's chances of survival, but it has been a long time.

"Some life jackets were found at the scene but it's not known if the missing person was wearing a life jacket.

"Life jackets are high visibility and have flashing lights on them, if he had been floating in the water we would have spotted him."

The passenger ferry is run by Norfolkline, part of DFDS Seaways, which operates services between Rosyth, Scotland, and Zeebrugge in Belgium.

A DFDS Seaways spokesman said: "We are deeply concerned about this and there will now follow an investigation by the authorities which we will fully assist with."

A Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) spokesman said: "We are conducting a preliminary examination at the moment."

Lothian and Borders Police said officers were assisting the coastguard.

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