'Significant progress' made with L’Ecume II investigation

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‘SIGNIFICANT progress’ is being made with the States police’s investigation into the collision between Condor’s Commodore Goodwill and the L’Ecume II fishing vessel, the force has said.

More than 400 lines of enquiry have been recorded since the start of the investigation – Operation Nectar – with more than 300 now complete.

The L’Ecume II fishing trawler sank on Thursday 8 December following a collision with Condor’s Commodore Goodwill freight ship off Jersey’s west coast.

Two bodies were recovered from the wreck and identified as crewmen Jervis Ramirez Baligat and Larry Simyunn from the Philippines, but the third person on board – skipper Michael ‘Mick’ Michieli – has not been found.

More than 165 hours of underwater CCTV footage has been reviewed and documented by a team of two reviewers, while other CCTV footage has been recovered to provide a timeline of events covering the movement of the crew of L’Ecume II in the hours leading up to the disaster.

Evidential accounts have been obtained from around 80 witnesses and the team of investigators have registered more than 500 documents, more than 300 pieces of media – including CCTV footage and photographs – and more than 170 items of property which have all been documented.

In a statement, the force said: ‘Significant progress is being made with the investigation and most of the evidential opportunities have now been completed.’

Family liaison officers continue to support the families of Mr Michieli, Mr Baligat, and Mr Simyunn in Jersey and the Philippines.

The wreck of L’Ecume II is due to be raised once the specialist equipment needed to do so has been acquired.

It will be held on land as part of the police investigation at a secure location, where a forensic examination will take place to recover evidence and record the damage.

Senior investigating officer, Andrew Shearwood, said: ‘The amount of work the team has undertaken over the last few months – as an investigation team of 12 people – has been remarkable. CCTV has been the biggest single piece of work with a review of over 165 hours of underwater footage now complete.’

He added: ‘The footage has given us a good understanding of the damage caused to the trawler and the current position of the L’Ecume II. It has also identified where further evidential opportunities are to be found when the wreck is raised.’

He noted that raising L’Ecume II was ‘likely to generate further lines of enquiry’.

‘The investigation is complex and there will be many more months of work ahead for the investigation team,’ he continued.

‘We continue to work closely with Ports of Jersey and government around the logistics of raising the vessel. Once the wreck is raised, our primary objective is to search for Mr Michieli. We will also recover forensic evidence that will assist the investigation team in understanding how the collision occurred.’

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