21 April 2023
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
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.
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
The road closure will happen outside of business hours and information will follow
in the coming days ahead.
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
“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.”