Minute silences to be held to mark anniversaries of Haut du Mont explosion and trawler tragedy

Skipper of the L’Ecume 11, Michael Michieli. Picture supplied by his family. (37116533)

MINUTE silences will be held this week to mark the one-year anniversaries of two tragedies which claimed the lives of 13 people.

The government has announced that public workers will fall silent at noon on Friday to remember fisherman Michael Michieli and his two crew – Jervis Baligat and Larry Simyunn – who were killed when their trawler was in collision with the Commodore Goodwill freight ship.

Jervis Baligat(37116536)

Larry Simyunn. Picture supplied by the family. (37116541)

Another silence will be observed at noon on Sunday to mark the first anniversary of the explosion at Haut du Mont on Pier Road.

Nine residents – 72-year-old Peter Bowler, Raymie Brown (71), Romeu and Louise De Almeida (67 and 64 years), Derek and Sylvia Ellis (61 and 73 years), Ken and Jane Ralph (72 and 71 years) and 63-year-old Billy Marsden – were killed in the blast.

Haut du Mont explosion Firefighters hang a screen at the site Picture: JON GUEGAN. (37116530)

Kathy McGinness (73), who lived in an adjacent block and was injured in the explosion, died in hospital on Christmas Day.

A memorial service will also be held at the Town Church from 6pm on Thursday.

In a statement, Chief Minister Kristina Moore said: “A year ago our Island was devastated by two terrible tragedies that occurred within 48 hours of each other, in which 13 people lost their lives and that none of us will forget.

“My thoughts and prayers remain first and foremost with the families of those who died last December and the dozens more who lost their homes. While they will forever remember and miss those they lost, those feelings will be particularly acute as we approach the anniversaries. My heart goes out to them.”

She added: “As well as those directly impacted by the disasters, the anniversaries will be something the whole Island will want to mark, reflect on and remember – whether that’s by attending the service, observing the silences or in their own, personal way.

“While those terrible tragedies were among the very worst things that have happened to our Island since the Occupation, the reaction to them also demonstrated the very best of us in terms of the community spirit, resilience and unity that has characterised the last 12 months and will, I’m sure, be on display throughout the events of this week and beyond.”

In August, three people were arrested on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter in relation to the Haut du Mont explosion and were later released pending further inquiries.

A file on the ferry collision has been submitted to the Law Officer’s Department, which will ultimately make a decision on whether anyone will be charged.

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