The missing fishing boat Nicola Faith should have been found earlier says expert wreck hunter. Photo@ North West Police Underwater Search & Marine Unit
Wreck hunter David Mearns has claimed that the wreck of the missing fishing vessel Nicola Faith should have been located sooner.
The Nicola Faith had been missing since 27 January after the boat and her three-crew failed to return home from a fishing trip to their home port of Colwyn in North Wales.
On 06 April, a wreck was believed to be the Nicola Faith was located by searchers, and yesterday the wreck was confirmed by the North West Police Underwater Search & Marine Unit.
The Unit tweeted, “Yesterday we worked with @maibgovuk to identify and survey the wreck of the MV Nicola Faith. The task was challenging due to rope and fishing equipment around the site. Hopefully some answers and closure can be found for the families of the three crewmen.”
The wreck of the Nicola Faith was found underwater, 177m from its last recorded location which was approximately two-miles off the coast of Colwyn Bay.
David Mearns, who had been privately hired by the families of the missing crew, hit out at the failure to locate the vessel earlier. He said there was “no reason” why the boat should not have been found by previous searches, although it was the Marine Accident Investigation team that found the wreck on Tuesday 06 April.
Mr Mearns told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast: “The wreck was located only 177 metres away from the last known position of the vessel.
“So it was where the signal was lost, it was where everyone should have known where the wreck was from the beginning.
“So, in the final conclusion, yes, there is no reason why it shouldn’t have been found sooner.”
He said the the search had been done in a number of stages.
“The MAIB actually found the wreck last week, and so I went out and did a high-resolution sonar of the wreck, which provided the best images that we have so far of the wreck.
“These are images both of the hull, and also of things that are floating above it,” he said.
“This allowed us to compare things like the dimensions of the ship, and pick out key features which are distinctive to the Nicola Faith – the tall mast and the platform on the stern – that helped identify it as the Nicola Faith.” (Source)
Yesterday, (Tuesday 13 April), Andrew Moll, chief executive of the MAIB, said: “A large amount of evidence has already been collected and analysed, and a close look at the results of today’s dive survey should increase our understanding of the accident.”
Yesterday we worked with @maibgovuk to identify and survey the wreck of the MV Nicola Faith. The task was challenging due to rope and fishing equipment around the site. Hopefully some answers and closure can be found for the families of the three crewman. pic.twitter.com/KcxAWMnMqI
— North West Police Underwater Search & Marine Unit (@NWPoliceDivers) April 14, 2021
The bodies of the three missing crew members, Alan Minard (20), Ross Ballantine (39), and skipper Carl McGrath were recovered in March.