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Dutch call off search for 6 missing crewmen

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 6, 2012 at 11:19 am •  Published: December 6, 2012

AMSTERDAM (AP) — Rescuers called off search efforts for six missing crewmen Thursday from a cargo ship that sank in the North Sea after a collision with another vessel. The presumed death toll is 11 — taking into account the missing and five bodies found so far.

A day after the Baltic Ace capsized in international waters off Netherlands' southern coast, search helicopters, planes and coast guard ships were called back to their bases amid icy conditions.

"Given the water temperature and the amount of time that's passed, we don't have any hope for more survivors," Peter Westenberg of the Dutch coast guard said.

Westenberg said passing ships were still being notified by radio to remain alert for possible human remains.

The 148-meter (485-foot) Baltic Ace sank Wednesday evening after colliding with the 134-meter (440-foot) container ship Corvus J near busy shipping lanes. The cause of the collision wasn't known.

Thirteen members of the ship's 24-man crew were rescued after the collision.

The Dutch waterways agency has located the spot of the wreck about 65 kilometers (40 miles) from land, and marked out the area with buoys. A ship is posted near the spot to help guide shipping traffic. The agency said it is in contact with the ship's owner about possible salvage operations.

The Baltic Ace, carrying a cargo of cars, sank quickly as the crew tried to abandon ship.

Dutch police have identified the five victims whose bodies have been found as two Poles, aged 47 and 50; two Filipinos aged 30 and 51; and a 47-year-old Ukrainian.

All survivors were expected to fully recover.

Janusz Wolosz, an official with the Polish Embassy in The Hague, said that in addition to the two Polish crewmembers who have been confirmed dead, three are missing and six crew, including the Polish captain, were recovering after being rescued.

"They were all well-qualified for their jobs," said Mariusz Lenckowski, of the agency that employed the Polish seamen. He said the Baltic Ace was built in the Gdynia shipyard in Poland in 2007.

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