Tyne & Wear

Search for missing North Shields fisherman called off

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

A 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.

More than 20 fishing vessels and lifeboats were involved in a massive search and rescue operation.

But the Coastguard said despite a saturation search of the area where the collision happened, nothing had been found.

It is not known if the teenager was wearing a life jacket, though some were found at the scene.

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."

Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead added: "My thoughts and sympathies are very much with the family, friends and colleagues of the crew of the Homeland.

"I would also like to pay tribute to the efforts of the emergency services and other fishing vessels who took part in the rescue efforts."

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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