The Hague: A cargo ship collided with a small barge on a Dutch canal near the central city of Utrecht on Friday, leaving the skipper of the barge missing, police and the man's employer said.
"There was a collision between a cargo ship and a barge" on a canal at Nieuwer Ter Aa northwest of Utrecht, a spokesman said. "One person is missing," he added.
The company that manages the barge for the Dutch government said the missing person was the skipper.
"We fear the worst. It has been four hours" since he disappeared, Swets ODV spokesman Leonard van Halst said shortly before 11.00 am (0900 GMT).
"It is likely that he will not be found."
The barge is used to transport bicycles and pedestrians across the canal.
Swets said the captain of the German cargo ship was being questioned by police.
Dutch news agency ANP reported that a sonar search was underway for the barge skipper and any other possible casualties.
First Published: Friday, October 22, 2010, 15:59