The man was reportedly fastening a ladder on the anchored ship's starboard quarter, at the time of the incident. He was not seen wearing a life-jacket.

A Coast Guard aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and the crews of Coast Guard Cutter Sea Horse and Coast Guard Station Cape Charles searched for approximately 12 hours. The search area covered about 112 square miles.

Also assisting in the search was the Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron TWO from Chambers Field on Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, and a Virginia Pilot Association boat crew.

USCG Capt. Rick Wester, commander, Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads, said:

Suspending a search is one of the most difficult choices we have to make in the Coast Guard, and several factors – water temperature, weather conditions, and length of time the person has been missing – inform the decision. We extend our thoughts and prayers to the sailor’s family and fellow crewmen.

The Lara Venture is a Hong Kong-flagged bulker built in 2011. The water temperature in the region was estimated below 50 degrees at the time.