MAIB extends search for fishing vessel

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has extended its search for the fishing vessel Nicola Faith, which went missing off the coast of Colwyn Bay on 27 January. Although three bodies have recently been found, which are thought to be the crew of Nicola Faith, MAIB is keen to find the wreck to understand the causes and circumstances of the sinking.

Search assets with enhanced capability will be deployed and the search area planned to be covered has been expanded.

MAIB, which has been co-ordinating the search effort, says it is extremely grateful to Natural Resources Wales which has volunteered its sonar equipment and additional technical expertise to the search. MAIB is also in discussion with the Welsh Government about the use of the Rhodri Morgan, one of their fishery patrol vessels.

“This was a truly tragic accident which has left a community with many unanswered questions,” says Andrew Moll, chief inspector of marine accidents. “I and my colleagues at MAIB share their urgent need for answers and to fully understand what went wrong. The search effort continues with renewed vigour.”

More than 30 square miles of seabed have been searched using specialist equipment. The vessel’s primary operating area has been identified and this has been searched with a considerable amount of overlap. The specialist equipment that is being used is extremely sensitive and the search has been hampered by poor weather in recent weeks.

Over the weekend, ocean recovery expert David Mearns, who discovered the wreckage of the plane carrying Emiliano Sala, joined the search.

“Thanks to thousands who donated, and on behalf of the families of Alan Minard, Carl McGrath and Ross Ballantine, the private search for the FV NICOLA FAITH commenced this morning at 0600. #findNicolaFaith,” Mearns, an ocean recovery, wrote on Twitter.

He tweeted at 2:25pm to say that the search had ended for the day due to the weather.

“The weather deteriorated in our search area, choppy waves 0.5m high, wind freshening. Quality of our sonar imaging became badly affected causing an end to searching for today.”

Money for the search was raised through a Go Fund Me page set up by the families of the three fishermen, says Wales Online. The fundraiser recently hit its target of £75,000, which meant that the search could begin.

Image courtesy of Wales Online.

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