SPECIALIST equipment and vessels – including a 60-metre-long crane barge – have arrived in the Island in preparation of the lifting of the wreck of the L’Ecume II fishing trawler.
A specialist dive team is also due to arrive later this week to start preliminary work to raise the wreck of L’Ecume II, which sank following a collision with the Commodore Goodwill on Thursday 8 December.
Two bodies were recovered from the wreck and identified as crewmen Jervis Ramirez Baligat and Larry Simyunn from the Philippines, but the third person on board – skipper Michael ‘Mick’ Michieli – has not been found.
In February, senior civil servant Richard Corrigan announced that the decision had been taken to raise the wreck for both ‘evidential gain and for humanitarian reasons’, given that it would aid the ongoing investigation and help to ‘conclusively’ determine whether the body of its skipper was trapped aboard.
A 60-metre-long crane barge – Herbosch-Kiere Gaverland – and a 20-metre tugboat – Multrasalvor 3 – have arrived in Jersey ahead of the planned lifting operation, which is due to take place later this month subject to a fair-weather window of five days.
A 21-metre dive support vessel, the Willchallenge, has also arrived in the Island and will act as a floating base for the divers.
SeaTech Commercial Diving will carry out the diving operations under the control of Herbosch-Kiere Marine Contractors Ltd, a specialist firm that has been commissioned to raise the trawler.
Deputy Chief Minister Kirsten Morel said: ‘Raising the L’Ecume II will assist with the ongoing police investigation by providing access to potentially the best available evidence, but there is also an important humanitarian aspect to raising the wreck, which I hope will bring the bereaved families closer to the answers they have been seeking.
‘Raising the wreck will be a complex and sensitive operation. I would like to thank all the teams who have been working hard to mobilise the wreck-raise and thoroughly plan the logistics of securing it once it is on land.’
He added: ‘I would like to request that media and the public give the Michieli family the space they need during the raise by refraining from taking or sharing any photos or video that could cause unnecessary distress. Jersey is a close-knit community where the emotional impact of the operation will be felt by many Islanders.’
Once the wreck has been raised, it will be transported to La Collette where it will be stored at a secure location, under States police supervision.
A statement issued by the Michieli family has requested privacy during the operation.
‘The Michieli family politely request that the media and the public act with respect and uphold the family’s request for privacy at this difficult time, by refraining from taking photos or recording footage of the wreck being brought ashore,’ it stated.