Skip to main content Skip to accessibility
This website is not compatible with your web browser. You should install a newer browser. If you live in Jersey and need help upgrading call the States of Jersey web team on 440099.
Government of

Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

L’Ecume II recovery operation update

21 April 2023

Maritime operation

The operation to raise L’Ecume II continues as expert teams work to progress the operation in challenging sea conditions.

Following poor weather last week, the operation mobilised on Sunday 16 April, once it was deemed safe for teams to start work. 

The first phase of the recovery operation is the completion of a dive survey, which is required before the lifting operation starts. The dive team, made up of 9 specialist divers and a support crew with Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV), has completed dives at the wreck site when conditions have allowed. ROVs have also been deployed to the wreck to support the dive survey.

ROV footage has shown the wreck to be in an unstable condition. This follows initial work by the Freja to access the boat in December 2022, and the subsequent sea conditions. This poses additional challenges for the dive team.

This week’s high spring tides, combined with a strong swell, have meant it has not been possible for the team to complete a dive every day, as depths near the wreck have exceeded 50 metres. The dive method is complex, requiring a surface supplied air diving system, and the team are equipped with under water video recording and recompression chamber facilities. The dive team cannot dive beyond 50 metres and can only remain on the seabed for 15 minutes per dive. The dive survey is expected to continue next week when shallower neap tides and calmer seas are expected.

Once the dive survey has been completed, and when sea conditions allow, the lifting operation can begin. 

The Herbosch-Kiere Gaverland recovery barge left St Helier Harbour on Sunday 16 April, but sea conditions did not allow the barge to be safely secured to the anchor buoys, so the vessel returned to St Helier Harbour. The Gaverland is expected to travel to the wreck site again next week, ready to start lifting operations.

Safety of the teams involved is paramount. 

Land-based operation 

La Collette car park has temporarily closed until further notice to allow for the storage of equipment for the land-based operation. 

Drivers who have already purchased a half season ticket for April 2023 that use La Collette car park will be permitted to use them at Pier Road multistorey car park levels 3 and above during this time.

Restrictions to traffic are in place when accessing the La Collette household recycling facilities to allow for service connections to the storage site. Road closures around La Collette are planned once the wreck is raised and the land-based operation starts.

The road closure will happen outside of business hours and information will follow in the coming days ahead.

Exclusion zones 

A maritime exclusion zone of 1,000 metres in all directions around the wreck site remains in place to facilitate a safe and effective recovery operation. 

The exclusion zone is intended to limit the activity in the area only to those with the professional expertise and authority to enter the area during the recovery operations and to keep teams safe. 

The exclusion zone prohibits the passage of any vessels and diving, fishing, laying of static gear and trawling activity. Mariners and boat owners are reminded to keep well clear of the operation. Breaching the exclusion zone carries a maximum penalty of a level 3 fine (£10,000).

In addition, an air exclusion zone – a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) – is in place for all drones around the wreck site. The area is 1,000 metres from the site up to 450 feet in elevation. The exclusion zone remains in place until Wednesday 31 May.

Deputy Chief Minister and Chair of the Political Oversight Group for the Major Incidents, Deputy Kirsten Morel, said: “Raising the L’Ecume II is a complex and sensitive operation. I’d like to thank all the teams who are working hard on the operation to support this important humanitarian and investigative work.

“Last week’s weather, as well as current sea conditions, have created a challenging working environment for the specialist teams. Safety of the individuals involved is paramount, and we must ensure the operation only goes ahead when it is safe to do so.

“The emotional impact of the operation will be felt by many Islanders. My thoughts remain with the families impacted by the tragedy, and I hope the operation will bring them closer to the answers they are seeking.”   

Back to top
rating button