A three-week search for the skipper of a fishing trawler which sank off Jersey's west coast has now ended without finding Michael ‘Mick’ Michieli.
The L'Ecume II sank in St. Ouen's Bay following a collision with Condor's Commodore Goodwill freight boat around 05:30 on Thursday 8 December, leading to a major operation to find the missing skipper and crew, and to gather evidence on what happened.
On Monday, police confirmed that the two bodies recovered from the wreck of the trawler had been identified as crewmen Jervis Ramirez Baligat and Larry Simyunn.
The results of an investigation led by the Police will now be passed to the Attorney General to decide if any criminal charges should be brought.
Pictured: Jervis Baligat, Mick Michieli and Larry Simyunn.
In a statement released this afternoon, Deputy Chief Minister, Kirsten Morel said: “In the 20 days since the tragic collision, the search and recovery operation for L’Ecume II and her crew has been extensive. My heartfelt thanks go to everyone involved in this round the clock operation.
“The L’Ecume II’s wreckage and surrounding seabed have been extensively searched by MV Freja using specialist equipment. On Wednesday 14 December, the bodies of Jervis Ramirez Baligat and Larry Simyunn were brought ashore. Since then every area of the vessel has been searched but very sadly Mick Michieli has not been found.
“With the conclusion of the MV Freja’s work, we have reached the conclusion of this part of the search and recovery operation and it is now time to assess the next steps.
“Our thoughts remain with everyone affected, particularly with the families of the three crew, who will remain fully supported and informed throughout the coming stages.”
Pictured: Deputy Morel explained that, "...the L’Ecume II’s wreckage and surrounding seabed have been extensively searched by MV Freja using specialist equipment".
The Government has also confirmed that an exclusion zone remains around the site, while two areas of work continue.
The first is an independent investigation led by the States of Jersey Police and supported by UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency Enforcement Team.
Based upon this investigation, the Attorney General will decide whether any criminal charges should be brought.
Pictured: "Every area of the vessel [L'Ecume II] has been searched" (Credit: Rob Currie).
The second area of ongoing work is the maritime safety investigation, which was commissioned immediately after the incident to determine the facts, and what lessons can be learned.
This maritime safety investigation is currently being progressed by Maritime Standards, part of Ports of Jersey, in conjunction with the Bahamas Maritime Authority (as the Commodore Goodwill’s flag state), and the Philippines as an interested party.
Deputy Morel concluded: “My priorities are ensuring that the families and communities continue to be supported, the facts are established and any necessary action taken, to ensure an incident like this does not happen again.”
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