Wreck of fishing vessel Nicola Faith pulled from sea after body of passenger found in Blackpool

Nicola Faith, a fishing boat which went missing along with its three crew members in January, has been raised from the seabed.

Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 5:37 pm

The wreck of the sunken Nicola Faith was recovered from the sea off the coast of Colwyn Bay, North Wales, by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) on May 31.

Skipper Carl McGrath, 34, and his crewmates Ross Ballantine, 39, and Alan Minard, 20, were on board the vessel when it left Conwy at around 10am on January 27.

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Mr Ballantine was found at West Kirby Beach, Wirral, and Mr Minard at Meols Promenade, Wirral.

A spokesman for the MAIB said the boat would be transported to a secure location for further investigation, testing and stability analysis.

Captain Andrew Moll, Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents (MAIB), said: "This operation needed to be meticulously planned and executed to ensure that valuable evidence was conserved.

"The next phase of the investigation will be to establish what events led to the vessel’s capsize, the mechanics of how the vessel sunk and why.

The wreck of the sunken Nicola Faith was recovered from the sea off the coast of Colwyn Bay, North Wales. (Image: MAIB)

"As well as providing the families with an explanation, our report will aim to prevent such a tragic accident recurring."

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A remotely operated vehicle was initially used to conduct a final survey of Nicola Faith in the position in which it came to rest on the seabed.

Evidence including fishing equipment and outlying debris was also mapped and collected from the area around it.

The boat was raised using a 43-metre long crane barge and placed on the deck of an adjacent ship ready for transportation. (Image: MAIB)

It is thought the information could be crucial in helping investigators understand what led to the boat's capsize.

A major search was launched when the boat first failed to return but was stood down two days after the disappearance when nothing was found.

Aberconwy Senedd member Jane Finch-Saunders said: "This operation is a significant step towards a conclusion in the investigation, which we hope will provide some much-needed answers.

"With the MAIB undertaking exceptional actions to raise the boat, the families and our community can turn to healing and remembrance for those we have lost.

"This has been an investigation like no other. In placing party politics aside for the common good, cooperation between the Welsh Government and I ensured an unprecedented and rapid response which resulted in the Rhodri Morgan research vessel being utilised to help locate the Nicola Faith."

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