Operation To Raise L'Ecume II Underway

The Gaverland recovery barge departing St Helier harbour for the wreck site. Credit GoJ

Work has begun to lift the wreck of the sunken fishing trawler L'Ecume II, with the recovery barge and a specialist dive team on site.

The operation began on Sunday (16 April), a day earlier than planned, to make the most of a window of favourable weather and sea conditions.

L'Ecume II went down off Jersey's west coast on 8 December after colliding with the Goodwill freight ship.

The bodies of two crewmen - Jervis Ramirez Baligat and Larry Simyunn - were found in the days that followed, but skipper Michael Michieli remains missing.

The 60 metre long Gaverland recovery barge departed St Helier harbour on Sunday afternoon.

 Specialist equipment onboard the Gaverland recovery barge, enlisted to raise the wreck of the L'Ecume II. Credit GoJ.

Onboard were a team of nine specialist divers, support crew and an underwater robot (Remotely Operated Vehicle, or ROV).

They have begun their exploration of the wreck site ahead of the lifting operation starting.

Each diver can only remain at the required depth for 15 minutes.  Credit: GOJ.

Mariners are reminded that a 1,000 metre radius exclusion zone is in place around the location of the sunken boat.

The L'Ecume II fishing vessel sunk off the west coast of Jersey on 8 December 2022.  Source: Marine Traffic.

"Vessels must keep well clear of the area and the vessels involved in the operation at all times."  - Government of Jersey.

The authorities say the focus is now on successfully completing the complex work of raising the wreck, and that updates on the progress of that operation will only be provided 'at suitable opportunities'.

Once the boat is lifted, it will be taken to a secure location at La Collette to be examined by officers working on Operation Nectar - the police investigation of the fatal collision at sea.

People have been asked to not to take photos or videos of the operation out of respect for the affected families.

Last month, police said they had analysed 165 hours of underwater footage taken from the wreck site and that they hoped, by raising the vessel, they would find Mr Michieli and uncover more evidence of how the tragedy happened.

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