Two dry cargo ships collided in the North Sea early on Tuesday, with one of them likely sinking, and several people were missing, German authorities said.

The ships, Polesie and British-flagged Verity, collided in the early morning about 12 nautical miles (22 kilometres) southwest of the island of Helgoland, likely causing the Verity to sink, Germany’s Central Command for Maritime Emergencies said.

The emergency command said one person was rescued from the water and was being given medical treatment, and rescuers were searching for several more people who were missing.

In accordance with the latest information from the authority, the Bahamas-flagged ship Polesie, remained afloat with 22 people on board.

A number of vessels and emergency services – including a police boat and helicopter – have joined the frantic search for survivors. But that search is being hampered by winds and waves.

Also in the rescue mission are the vessels ‘Hermann Marwede’ and ‘Bernhard Gruben’ and ‘Anneliese Kramer’.

The German Sea Rescue Society (DGzRS) tweeted: “Sea rescuers in action: Collision in the German Bight, several people missing. Two cargo ships collided early this morning. Sea rescue cruiser ‘Hermann Marwede’ of the DGzRS coordinates numerous search and rescue units.”

It also stated: “A ship collision occurred in the German Bight early on Tuesday morning, October 24, 2023, around 5 am. The cargo ships ‘Polesie’ and ‘Verity’ collided approximately 12 nautical miles (22 kilometers) southwest of the island of Helgoland and 17 nautical miles (31 kilometers) northeast of the island of Langeoog. The emergency command took over overall operational management.”

Two rescue cruisers, an emergency tug, a pilot boat, a police boat and a helicopter are helping with the search.

The Bahamas-flagged Polesie had left Hamburg for La Coruna in Spain, whilst the British-flagged ship Verity was heading for Great Britain.

As it is furthermore reported by the German Sea Rescue Society, the cruise ship “Iona” is in the sea area and supports the search. Medical care can also be provided to people on board the “Iona” as there are doctors on board. Additional medical personnel are brought to the scene of the accident by helicopter.