Search under way after passenger reported missing from ferry

Blyth's Atlantic 75 lifeboat, the Viv and Billie Whiffen, returns to sea after refuelling and a crew change to continue to take part in the search for the missing ferry passenger.
Blyth's Atlantic 75 lifeboat, the Viv and Billie Whiffen, returns to sea after refuelling and a crew change to continue to take part in the search for the missing ferry passenger.

A major search is under way after a passenger was reported missing from a DFDS ferry today.

The man, a foreign national in his 60s, was travelling on the Princess Seaways but did not get off when it docked at North Shields and can not be found on board.

The search covers an area from Flamborough Head in Yorkshire, north to Newbiggin-by-the-Sea.

The Coastguard search and rescue helicopter, lifeboats from six RNLI stations, including Tynemouth and Blyth, and the Northumbria Police Marine Unit are involved in the search.

A statement from HM Coastguard said: ‘Just after 12.15pm today, HM Coastguard was notified of a missing passenger on a DFDS ferry that was on route from the Netherlands to North Shields, Tyneside.

‘HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Humberside is currently searching the area with lifeboats from six RNLI stations including Filey, Scarborough, Whitby, Hartlepool, Tynemouth and Blyth.

‘A Mayday relay broadcast has also been issued by HM Coastguard to inform all vessels in the area. Northumbria Police have also been informed.’

A Northumbria Police statement said: ‘Northumbria Police are aware of a report that a man has gone missing on a DFDS ferry travelling between Amsterdam and North Shields.

‘The passenger, a foreign national aged in his 60s, was travelling on board the ferry but did not depart the vessel upon arrival in North Shields and cannot be found on board.

‘Inquiries are ongoing to trace the man, contact his next of kin and establish the circumstances around his disappearance.

‘Specialist officers from the Marine Unit are being supported by staff from the Coastguard to carry out searches in the North Sea and that will continue through the afternoon.

‘Anyone who was on board the ferry and has information that may help police should contact Northumbria Police on 101 quoting log 413 08/03/18’

DFDS said the Princess Seaways arrived at North Shields this morning as scheduled at 9.45am.

When a routine inspection of the ship found luggage remaining in one passenger cabin, a full search of the ferry and terminal was carried out but the man remains unaccounted for.