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The wreck of the FV Nancy Glen, which capsized off Tarbert on January 18 with two fishermen on board, will not be raised by accident investigators.
However, the Scottish Government has vowed ‘to support efforts to retrieve the bodies of the missing fishermen, after the boat was lost in Loch Fyne last month, within sight of Tarbert, where the crew and their families lived’. It also promised to meet the costs of the operation.
One of the fishermen’s wives, Gosia Krawczyk, reacted on Facebook: ‘Przemek and Duncan – boys you are coming home! Thank you Scottish Government.’
Last week the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) completed an underwater survey of the wreck, and announced today it had collected enough evidence without having to recover the sunken vessel, which is lying at a depth of over 140m (460ft) off Barmore Island in Loch Fyne.
One fishermen, John Miller, survived, but the bodies of two crewmen, Duncan MacDougall and Przemek Krawczyk, have not been found. Campaigners, who have so far fundraised £230,000 for the men’s wives and children, said on their Justgiving page: ‘The families wish to retrieve their loved ones as soon as possible.’
Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents Steve Clinch said: ‘The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has now completed its review of the data obtained from last week’s underwater surveys of the wreck of FV Nancy Glen.
‘From this, and other evidence collected, we now know enough about the circumstances of the accident for us to complete our investigation, and we do not intend to recover the wreck.
‘Our thoughts are with the families of Duncan MacDougall and Przemek Krawczyk, who have been informed of the decision.’
On Friday the MAIB announced: ‘We have now competed our underwater survey of the wreck of Nancy Glen, which despite the depth and poor underwater visibility has been largely successful. We are now in the process of assessing the extensive quantity of data collected, which is taking some time. We are very conscious of the need to come to a decision as soon as possible as to whether or not the MAIB intends to raise the wreck as part of its investigation.’
Following the MAIB’s decision to leave the vessel in situ, the Scottish Government has agreed to examine whether the vessel can be lifted from its position to enable recovery of the bodies.
A spokesperson said: ‘The Scottish Government will work with salvage specialists and the families of the Nancy Glen crewmen to support efforts to retrieve the bodies of the missing fishermen, after the boat was lost in Loch Fyne last month, within sight of Tarbert, where the crew and their families lived.
‘This would mean raising the vessel to a position just below the surface to allow divers to enter and operate as safely as possible. The costs of any recovery would also be met by the Scottish Government.’
Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing said: ‘This has been a deeply distressing time for the families of Duncan MacDougall and Przemek Krawczyk.
‘In these tragic and extremely exceptional circumstances, with the Nancy Glen having been lost within sight of the family homes and the wider community, it is only right that the Scottish Government intervenes and works with the families and salvage experts to search the vessel. The money raised through crowdfunding can go to the families rather than the recovery operation.
‘A recovery operation will pose serious logistical challenges, and will need to be undertaken with the safety of divers and others involved uppermost in mind.
‘This has been an upsetting time for all those involved, but we owe it to the families of the fishermen who were lost to mount this operation.
‘And while there is no guarantee of a successful outcome, I hope our intervention will help bring some closure to the families and friends of Mr MacDougall and Mr Krawczyk.’