Ferry and boat crash to be examined as search ends

The Scottish Viking The Scottish Viking ferry was travelling from Rosyth in Fife to Zeebrugge

An investigation is under way into a collision between a ferry and a trawler which has left a teenage fisherman lost in the North Sea.

The North Shields-based Homeland prawn boat was in collision with the Scottish Viking off the Berwickshire coast just before 2000 BST on Thursday.

Two fishermen, who are brothers, were on board the trawler. One, aged 20, was pulled to safety by another boat.

The search for the other brother, thought to be 16, has been called off.

Fred Caygill from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) told the BBC a crewman from another vessel had seen the missing boy in the water at 2025 BST on Thursday, but he then slipped from view.

The MCA confirmed the search was terminated at 1400 BST on Friday, a decision which had followed 17 hours of searching, when expected survivability had been exceeded.

Start Quote

We are deeply concerned about this and there will now follow an investigation by the authorities which we will fully assist with”

End Quote Spokesman DFDS Seaways

Mr Caygill said it was unclear as to whether the missing boy, or his brother, were wearing lifejackets, but two were found in the flotsam.

He 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."

More than 20 fishing vessels and lifeboats were involved in the search, which spanned an area of more than 30 square miles off St Abb's Head.

The Scottish Viking ferry, which was travelling between Rosyth and Zeebrugge, is operated by the Dutch company Norfolkline, owned by DFDS Seaways.

'Investigate fully'

The firm said the ship was chartered by Norfolkline from Italian firm Visentini, and was expected to arrive in Belgium on Friday afternoon.

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.

"We have also been talking to Visentini who will investigate fully."

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch will examine how the collision happened.

A 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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