Search for missing DFDS ferry passenger will not resume

The alarm was raised after luggage was found on board a DFDS service when it arrived in North Shields.
The alarm was raised after luggage was found on board a DFDS service when it arrived in North Shields.

There are no plans to relaunch the search for a passenger reported missing when a ferry arrived in the North East.

HM Coastguard has confirmed it will not pick up the search again this morning after it was stood down at 7.30pm yesterday.

A member of Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team searching the sea from the clifftops yesterday.

A member of Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team searching the sea from the clifftops yesterday.

The service said the matter was now in the hands of Northumbria Police.

The Coastguard was alerted to a man in his 60s going missing on a DFDS ferry from Amsterdam to North Shields, North Tyneside, at 12.15pm yesterday.

The HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Humberside was sent to the area and was searching with lifeboats from RNLI stations including Filey, Scarborough, Whitby, Hartlepool, Tynemouth and Blyth.

A Mayday relay broadcast has been issued by HM Coastguard to inform all vessels in the area and Northumbria Police has been notified.

A force spokesman said: "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."

A spokesman for Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team said: "The team were paged to take part in a full scale coastal search for a person reported to be overboard from a DFDS ferry after their belongings were found still onboard after its arrival in North Shields.

Hartlepool Rnli all weather lifeboat returns from the search for the missing ferry passenger. Photo by RNLI/Tom Collins.

Hartlepool Rnli all weather lifeboat returns from the search for the missing ferry passenger. Photo by RNLI/Tom Collins.

"Ourselves, Blyth, Seaham and Voluntary Life Brigades from South Shields and Tynemouth conducted a full coastal search of beaches and coves from Seaham in the south to Cambois in the north.

"Whilst lifeboats from Filey, Whitby, Scarborough, Hartlepool, Tynemouth and Blyth along with the Coastguard Search and Rescue Helicopter conducted a seaborne search of the extensive probability area.

"With our search area from Sunderland Harbour to Frenchmans Bay at South Shields complete and with high tide fast approaching the team was stood down to return to station."

The service has urged anyone reporting a coastal emergency call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

A spokesman for Hartlepool RNLI said: "A volunteer crew were paged at 2.50pm to take part in a search along with other flanking lifeboat stations and agencies for a person missing from a ferry boat.

"Hartlepool RNLI all weather lifeboat returns from the search for the missing ferry passenger.

"The all weather lifeboat launched at 3.10pm to begin a search approximately 5 miles off Hartlepool along the route of the ferry that had travelled from the Netherlands to North Shields earlier in the day.

"With a comprehensive search of the allocated area completed the all weather lifeboat and volunteer crew were stood down by Humber Coastguard at approximately 7.10pm

"The all weather lifeboat returned to the Ferry Road lifeboat station at 7.50pm and was refuelled and made ready for service by 8.15pm."

Hartlepool RNLI lifeboats operations manager Chris Hornsey said: "Despite a long and thorough search of the area nothing was found."

Any passengers with information are asked to call Northumbria Police on 101.