Jersey boat collision: fishing vessel sinks after crash with Condor Ferries ship, where are fishermen - news

Three people remain missing as the search for the sunken fishing vessel resumes
The sun sets over Corbiere Lighthouse near St Helier, Jersey (Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)The sun sets over Corbiere Lighthouse near St Helier, Jersey (Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
The sun sets over Corbiere Lighthouse near St Helier, Jersey (Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

A significant search effort for a fishing boat that sank off the coast of Jersey and had three people on board has resumed after being put on hold overnight.

After the boat sank in around 40-metre deep water, specialist diving resources were needed to aid in the search and rescue operation, Jersey’s Harbourmaster Bill Sadler said.

In an update to reporters on Thursday (8 December) afternoon, he said local fishing vessels had also been helping with the search and that drones and beach lifeguards on jet skis had been deployed.

Here is everything you need to know.

What happened?

The Jersey fishing boat collided with the Commodore Goodwill ship shortly after 5.30am on Thursday (8 December) at sea in St Ouen’s Bay, carrying a captain and two crew members.

“The vessel is believed to have sunk in approximately 40 metres of water,” said Sadler, “which will require specialist diving resources to examine.”

Richard Henry, a freight driver who was onboard the Commodore Goodwill at the time of the collision, described hearing the emergency announcement shortly after the crash.

He told ITV: “We heard five long blasts on the horn and then a big bang. Then an announcement from the captain, ‘this is not a drill, this is not a drill, man overboard, all crew to action stations’.

“Then I went outside and had a look, and could just see the tail end of, I think it was a 66ft French trawler, but we just see the tail end of that just disappearing out of sight.”

The Commodore Goodwill is owned by Condor Ferries, which has declared that it will cooperate completely with any inquiries concerning the occurrence.

The ship was travelling from Guernsey to Jersey and had 24 crew members and five passengers on board. There have been no reports of any injuries onboard the Commodore Goodwill.

What’s the status of those onboard the fishing vessel?

A captain and two crew members were aboard the L’Ecume II when it collided with the Commodore Goodwill ship.

Henry said he “had a word with the crew” and “he said ‘yeah, there’s one man definitely still being looked for’. They’re not sure about the other two because there were three people on the boat at the time.”

The owner of L’Ecume II and seasoned and well-respected fisherman Michael Michieli has been named as the fishing boat’s captain. He and two crew members remain missing.

Who is involved with the search?

Announcing suspension of the search overnight, Jersey Coastguard said those involved will “regroup before first light” on Friday to “consider the findings of the search by the remote operation vehicle (the uncrewed underwater craft) before deciding how to proceed”.

Among those involved in the search were the RNLI’s inshore and all-weather lifeboats, two French rescue helicopters, Guernsey’s RNLI all-weather lifeboat, a French naval fixed-wing aircraft, Channel Island Air Search, Ports of Jersey’s pilot boat, and the Government of Jersey’s Fisheries rib.

A spokesman for Jersey Coastguard added: “Coastguards called out the RNLI’s inshore and all-weather lifeboats and two French rescue helicopters, Guernsey’s RNLI all-weather lifeboat and a French naval fixed-wing aircraft. A large number of local fishing vessels have also joined the search.

The coastguard said commercial shipping has been rerouted eastbound around the island to avoid the search area and urged anyone who finds debris on beaches to note where they find it and call 01534 447705 to report it.

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