Two Crewmembers Overboard Cargo Ship North of Terschelling

The 153 m MV Timberland lost two crew members overboard 110 km north of Terschelling on Nov 25, 2012. at 4.05 p.m. Immediately a distress signal was sent, but two helicopters were struggling to stay aloft. The German Navy deployed one helicopter from Borkum which sighted two lights, but did not have enough fuel to investigate this further.

A smoke marker was dropped when a Dutch helicopter proceeded to that position recovered one man. Unfortunately the recovered crewmember died.

A passing merchant ship sighted the other light from the life vest, but the helicopter was unable to take off from the platform until the wind decreased.

Both crewmembers were wearing life vests but no survival suits.

Update 1: 28 Nov. 2012

According to NOS, the Coast Guard has found the body of one of the two missing men. Unfortunately the crewmember was already dead by the time the Coast Guard retrieved him.

The dead crewmember was retrieved when two of the helicopters participating in the rescue operations spotted two lights in the water while they were heading for refueling.

Regarding the other crewmember the weather conditions have made it difficult to locate him and retrieve him. Unfortunately given the weather conditions in the area and the fact that the crewmembers were not wearing survival suits, it is highly unlikely that he is still alive.

Furthermore, the Dutch Coastguard reported that the rescue operations have been stopped.

Source: Vesseltracker,, Dutch Coastguard


  1. mandy cordova says:

    may i know the names of the crew members?

  2. In this worse case scenario, what are the responsibilities of the company (MV Timberland) towards the missing employee, aside from informing the family of what had happened? (Note: Rescue operations have been stopped…)

    • Normally there should be some kind of compensation (a specific amount of money, depending on various factors) to the families of the deceased crew members, expenses that are usually covered by the company’s P&I club. Apart from this the company should also conduct an accident investigation report in order to identify the exact causes of the accident. For example were the seafarers following orders doing work on the deck? Were they off duty? Lots of questions to be answered in such cases.

  3. Based on your data/statistics; considering the number of days, location of the accident, and weather condition, what is the chance that his body can still be found? Thanks…

    • Cannot say for sure, it may take a month or two or more, it may never be found.

      • I know that it’s winter time but I’m not sure if there’s a special suit for divers for rescue operation like this. Is it possible to send divers during this time or this is not an option? By the way, who will decide to stop the rescue operations and up to what extent should it be done? Thanks for the enlightenment, this is just so disturbing story of seafarers.

      • Special suits for cold water diving do exist (e.g. Drysuits, Hot Water Suits, Wetsuits etc) but if the Dutch Coastguard has such equipment we cannot say for sure. Regarding the search operations, it should be taken into consideration that if the search area is big enough we cannot see how the divers could be of any use, except of course if a floating life-jacket is discovered and someone had to check it. The Dutch Coastguard in its last announcement about the MV Timberland incident (link is given in the post) stated that “In consultation with all stakeholders it was decided to stop the search.” which most probably means that the parties involved in the incident (the dutch coastguard, the company, maybe the families of the seafarers and any other involved in the search and rescue operations) have decided to stop the search. Under what exact procedures such decisions are taken we are in no position to know and we can only make assumptions which may be wrong.

  4. Gud day, sir, is there any updates about the missing crewmember?

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