A Jersey fishing boat was struck by a freight vessel off the coast of Channel Island, kick-starting a major search and rescue operation.
At 5.30am on Thursday (8 December), L’Ecume II, an 18-metre long wooden fishing boat, collided with the Commodore Goodwill - a Condor Ferries vessel - with the L’Ecume II quickly sinking in waters as deep as 40 metres.
Skipper Michael Michieli was announced as one of the people missing, and despite specialist remote operation vehicles being used to search the seabed, none of the crew have turned up.
According to The Guardian, there are a large number of fishing boats helping in the search, as well as drones, police officers and lifeguards on jet skis.
The search was temporarily called off last night but will continue today (9 December).
The Jersey Coastguard said in a statement: “There were three people onboard the fishing vessel: the captain and two crew members. Coastguards have deployed the RNLI’s inshore and all-weather lifeboats, two French rescue helicopters, Guernsey’s RNLI all-weather lifeboat and a French naval fixed-wing aircraft.
“Also involved in the search are Channel Island Air Search, Ports of Jersey’s pilot boat, and the government of Jersey’s fisheries rib.”
Chief executive of Condor Ferries John Napton also confirmed that one of the company’s vessels had been involved in the collision, saying: “We can confirm that Commodore Goodwill was involved in a collision with a fishing boat at 5.30 this morning.
“Goodwill was en route from Guernsey to Jersey on her regular sailing when the incident occurred, north-west of Jersey. The master notified the coastguard in Jersey and Goodwill has assisted in the search and rescue.
“Condor has notified authorities and will fully comply with any investigation into the incident.”
A Commodore Goodwill passenger told ITV News: “We heard five long blasts on the horn and then a big bang. Then an announcement from the captain: ‘This is not a drill. Man overboard. All crew to action stations.’ I could see the tail-end of [a] 66 foot French trawler just disappearing out of sight.”
Kristina Moore, Jersey’s chief minister, sent her ‘thoughts and prayers’ to the victims, tweeting: “Watching this situation closely.
“Grateful to all the French, Guernsey and Jersey services and fishing community who are searching for the crew. My thoughts and prayers are with the crew and their families.”
President of the Jersey Fishermen’s Association Don Thompson claimed a wreckage had been located via sonar, saying: “It’s three and a half miles west of St Ouen’s Bay. It is on the seabed in about 40 to 50 metres of water, and that depth of water and the strong tides there are a challenge.”
Featured Image Credit: Jersey Coastguard/TelsWeb/YouTube
Topics: UK News