Thursday, 29 January 2015 - 17:53
Lifeboat, dead body found during hunt for missing ship
Search and rescue crews trying to track down the fishing trawler missing in the English Channel found an empty life-raft on the French coast just south of Boulogne-sur-Mer. The serial number on the raft links it to the missing ship, which was found with some wooden debris, the Dover Coast Guard reported late Thursday morning. Later on Thursday, a rescue boat found a corpse in the water about 17 kilometers off the coast of France. It is not known if the deceased person had been on the missing ship, the Z-85 Morgenster. Hope is fading as the search continues. The Dutch Coast Guard expressed pessimism when the search restarted on Thursday morning. "If the crew are in the water since yesterday, the survival rate is virtually zero", said Réjane Gyssens, head of the Maritime Rescue and Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Oostende. The Coast Guard estimated the water temperature to be nine degrees Celsius at the time the ship disappeared from the radar, according to Belgian news source hln.be. The Belgian-registered Z-85 Morgenster was carrying a crew of two Dutchmen (Jan Kramer and Bert Woort), one Portuguese (Martins dos Santos) and one Belgian (Maurice Coussaerd). Mayor Pieter van Maaren of Urk, Flevoland where the Dutch fishermen are from, has taken to Twitter to tell his citizens to "fold their hands and bend their knees" for the missing sailors. The last signal from the vessel was received at 2:45 p.m. on Wednesday when the vessel was 20 miles off the coast of Dover.