£2.5 Million Operation To Raise L'Ecume II

Specialist teams are working to raise the fishing trawler from the sea bed in the next phase of Operation Nectar.

The procedure will cost the government up to £2.5 million due to the operations taking place on sea and land, and a contingency for potential weather delays.

Chief Minister, Deputy Kristina Moore says the government is happy to help the families of those who were lost at sea.

"The government of Jersey has been asked to assist the states of Jersey police for both humanitarian and evidential purposes, so it is something that we are pleased to assist with."

"We have to bring in provisional support in order to do that."

Herbosch-Kiere is the main salvage contractor and the company has worked with Ports of Jersey on other contracts.

Specialist divers from Sea-tech will need a five-day clear weather window to complete the recovery mission.

The team is made up of seven divers, one supervisor on the dive support vessel and one designated supervisor ashore.

A 65-metre barge called the Gaverland will be the diver's base during the operation.

A 20-metre tug, the Multrasalvor 3, will also help to recover L'Ecume II, which was in collision with the Commodore Goodwill on 8 December 2022. All the crew of the fishing boat died.

As of today (11 April), a 1km exclusion zone is in place around the wreck, meaning trespassers could get a fine of up to £10,000.

Deputy Kristina Moore says the zone has been introduced so the divers can carry out their recovery mission with privacy.

"It is of course a very sensitive site where three people sadly lost their lives in December and the families have all asked their privacy is respected at this very difficult time."

Once the boat is lifted, it will be taken to shore at Victoria Pier at high tide and then driven to La Collette.

It will be taken to a semi-permanent base, built by Geomarine, by a 450-tonne crane from G.M. Lifting, together with support vehicles.

The land operation is estimated to take 12 hours from coming ashore to getting the boat to La Collette.

States of Jersey Police will then investigate the wreck of the trawler and take evidence from it.

There are hopes that the missing skipper, Michael Michieli, will be found on board the vessel.

Islanders are being asked to refrain from taking photos and videos of the operation out of respect for the affected families.

The Michieli family have also asked for privacy during this hard time.

The Chief Minister says it's a very technical process and she hopes islanders understand why families are asking for privacy.

"Particularly for the families, but I also know for the friends and the wider fishing community, and our whole community, we'll all feel a greater sense of comfort when we understand exactly the circumstances that led to the tragic deaths of these three fishers."

"We hope that this process will be able to assist with that."

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