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Jersey Chamber of Commerce

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Category: States of Jersey

L’Ecume II Recovery Operation to Start

Apr 13, 2023

• Dive teams and support vessel arrive in Jersey to start preliminary work

• Recovery barge arrived in Jersey yesterday

• 1,000 metre maritime exclusion zone placed around the wreck site.

Diving operation

The operation to raise the L’Ecume II fishing trawler, which sank in Jersey waters on 8 December 2022 following a collision with the Commodore Goodwill, is due to commence shortly.

A 21-metre dive support vessel, the Willchallenge, has arrived in Jersey, and will act as a floating base for the divers. The specialist dive team is due to arrive later this week to start preliminary work to raise the wreck.

SeaTech Commercial Diving will carry out the diving operations under the control of Herbosch-Kiere Marine Contractors Ltd, who are experts in salvage and recovery operations. They will spend the next few days preparing for and undertaking a dive survey, ahead of the lifting operation starting. The divers will also be carrying out further exploration of the wreck, as well as collecting items from the surrounding debris field.

The dive depths have been assessed at a minimum of 40 metres, so a fully containerised dive system and recompression chamber will be used to ensure the teams are able to complete the operation safely.

Raising L’Ecume II

Herbosch-Kiere Marine Contractors Ltd, a specialist marine contractor, has been commissioned to raise the wreck of L’Ecume II. Herbosch-Kiere is experienced in wreck raises and they are familiar with Jersey, having previously worked on major marine infrastructure projects in the Island.

The Herbosch-Kiere Gaverland recovery barge (a 60-metre-long crane barge) and the Multrasalvor 3, (a 20-metre tugboat) have arrived in Jersey ahead of the planned lifting operation, which is due to take place later this month.

Following the dive survey and exploration, the wreck raise will require a fair-weather window of five days to go ahead. Teams involved will be continually assessing the conditions to determine when the lift can happen.

Once the wreck has been raised, it will be transported to La Collette where it will be stored at a secure location, under States of Jersey Police supervision.

The transportation of the wreck to the site will take place outside of business hours and will require several road closures. Businesses in the vicinity will be contacted nearer the time when advance notice of road closures will be issued. 

Once the wreck is on land, it will be in the possession of States of Jersey Police and will form part of the ongoing police investigation.

Maritime exclusion zone

A maritime exclusion zone will be increased from 250 metres to 1,000 metres in all directions around the wreck site to facilitate a safe and effective recovery operation.

Deputy Chief Minister, Deputy Kirsten Morel, has issued the Ministerial Decision (MD) to limit the activity in the area only to those with the professional expertise and authority to enter the area during the recovery operations.

The exclusion zone will come into force:

• no earlier than 00:01 Tuesday 11 April 2023

• once the Harbour Master is satisfied that a suitable weather window for the commencement of the wreck recovery operation has been identified

• once a Harbour Master’s Notice to Mariners, advising of the extension of the maritime exclusion zone, has been issued.

The MD will prohibit the passage of any vessels and diving, fishing, laying of static gear and trawling activity. Breaching the exclusion zone carries a maximum penalty of a level 3 fine (£10,000).

Deputy Chief Minister, Deputy 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.

“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.”

Privacy during the raise operations

The Michieli family has issued the following statement to request 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.”

Government of Jersey Recovery Coordination

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