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With a reminder that there is no guarantee of success, Scottish fisheries minister Fergus Ewing has announced the start of work to prepare the Nancy Glen for lifting.
The Tarbert-registered fishing boat has been lying at a depth of 143 metres on the bottom of Loch Fyne since she capsized and sank on the evening of January 18.
The boat’s skipper Duncan MacDougall and crewman Przemek Krawczyk are believed to have gone down with the boat, though a crewmate, John Miller, was rescued.
A campaign to raise the Nancy Glen and return the lost men to their families led to an offer of help from the Scottish Government. This, however, is proving to be less than straightforward to achieve.
In a joint statement with the Clyde Fishermen’s Association, Mr Ewing said: ‘The salvage company has now commenced the preparatory work that is necessary for the attempt to recover the fishermen lost when the Nancy Glen sank. This work will include clearing debris attached to and surrounding the vessel ahead of any attempts to lift the boat.
‘This will be a complex task with a number of technical challenges, meaning there is no guarantee of success – and adverse weather will also impact timescales.
‘Clearly this continues to be a distressing and stressful time for the families and the wider community. I have been in close contact with the families and will continue to keep them updated as the recovery progresses.’
A Clyde Fishermen’s Association spokesperson added: ‘The fishing communities of the Clyde and families of the three Nancy Glen fishermen continue to be incredibly grateful to the public, politicians and government officials and various professionals have offered support since the Nancy Glen was sadly lost.
‘The Scottish Government has taken every possible measure to assist the task and must be commended for their commitment and dedication. We understand this is an incredibly difficult operation which will only be able to commence when safe to do so over the coming weeks.
‘We are unable to quantify the time frame or resources this process will entail, but we are thankful for every single effort.’
Leading the preparatory work will be marine research vessel Severn Sea, which will use remotely operated underwater vehicles to begin clearing away ropes, fishing gear and other debris on and around the wreck.