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Five missing as trawler runs aground off Cork coast

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  • Five missing as trawler runs aground off Cork coast

    Five men are thought to be missing after a fishing trawler sank off the West Cork coast.

    The trawler "Tit Bonhomme" sent out a distress signal after it ran aground at the entrance to the harbour at Union Hall at around 6am this morning.

    It is thought that the vessel, which operated out of Union Hall, had a crew of six on board.

    A major search and rescue operation involving the RNLI lifeboats from Courtmacsherry and Baltimore, two Coastguard helicopters and coastguard units from across West Cork was launched.

    So far, only one crewman has been rescued - he is an Egyptian national, who was winched to safety and brought to Cork University Hospital for treatment.

    It had been thought that two other crewmen had been located, however coastguard officials now say the other five crew are officially missing.

    Heavy seas and strong winds have been hampering the search.

    The vessel is now resting in around 10 to 12 metres of water, just at the entrance to Union Hall harbour.

    Sunday, January 15, 2012 - 10:49 AM

    Read more:

    (in the absence of a dedicated Coast Guard forum I'm putting it here.)

    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

  • #2
    Navy joins search for missing trawler crew

    The Naval Service has deployed its vessel LE Niamh to the Glandore area to help in the search for five men missing from a trawler that ran aground of the Cork coast.

    They have also sent a diving team, who were engaged in a search for a missing person in the River Corrib in Galway, to the scene.

    The LE Niamh is due to arrive on the scene around 3.30pm.

    The Tit Bonhomme sank in heavy seas close to Adam and Eve Island at the entrance to Union Hall harbour at around 6am.

    One crewman, who is Egyptian, was rescued from the sea by a Coastguard helicopter.

    His five crewmates, two from Ireland, three from Egypt, are still missing.

    Lifeboat and Coastguard crews have been joined by up to 18 other local trawlers in the search.

    Sunday, January 15, 2012 - 03:15 PM

    Read more:

    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


    • #3
      Student on first trip believed to be one of five missing from trawler

      Sunday, January 15, 2012 - 01:13 PM

      Local reports suggest one of those missing from the trawler that went aground off the Cork coast was a young student from west Cork.

      The student had joined the crew on his first fishing trip as he was interested in a career at sea.

      Fears are growing for the five people missing after the trawler went down.

      One survivor has been pulled from the sea close to Union Hall Harbour, where the 21-metre (69ft) Tit Bonhomme was thought to have struck rocks in the early hours of this morning.

      The Irish-registered fishing vessel was coming into shore when it got into difficulties beside the Adam and Eve islands, just outside the harbour.

      The crew made a distress call to the Coast Guard at around 6am, but it was cut off and all radio contact was lost.

      It is understood the captain is Irish.

      Coast Guard helicopters from Shannon and Waterford were scrambled to the scene, while lifeboats from Courtmacsherry and Baltimore have been launched.

      The survivor found in the water at around 8am has been taken to Cork University Hospital, while five other crew members are still missing.

      Strong winds and heavy seas which were hampering the search and rescue mission have calmed.

      Vincent O'Donovan, of Courtmacsherry Lifeboat station, said the Tit Bonhomme had taken a battering in the rough waters.

      “Conditions had been bad all last night and this morning,” he said. “It was force 7 to 8, and it was a south-east wind, which causes difficulties off that coast.”

      The lifeboat launched shortly after 6am and spotted debris in the water close to the mouth of Union Hall harbour, believed to be wreckage from the trawler, around an hour and a half later.

      Initial reports suggested two more survivors had made it to onshore rocks, but confusion remains, and the Coast Guard – which is leading the operation – said five people remain missing.

      It is understood the man who was pulled from the sea was an Egyptian national.

      Just last month, three fishermen were rescued from a life raft after their trawler sank at the same spot.

      The Jeanette Roberta was sailing out from Union Hall pier when it went down close to Adam Island, the larger of the two islands at the narrow entrance to the harbour.

      Read more:

      Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


      • #4
        Details of owner/skipper can be had on Dept of Ag site,best no details posted until made public.


        • #5
          West Cork rescue teams await go-ahead for underwater search
          Monday, January 16, 2012 - 01:30 PM

          Rescue teams are waiting for an assessment from naval dive teams to see if an underwater search of the sunken fishing vessel The Tit Bonhomme can take place today.

          An earlier search by the garda dive unit further up the harbour revealed no new information.

          The Irish Naval vessel the LE Niamh is assisted on the scene off the West Cork coast by lifeboat crews, a helicopter crew, coastguard units and local fishing vessels.

          Five crewmen are missing after the vessel sank on its way back into port following a fishing trip.

          Acting divisional controller with Valentia Coastguard John Draper, which is coordinating the search, said it was too early to say whether a dive would take place later this afternoon.

          "The garda unit has carried out a dive further up the harbour - not on the wreck site, but further up where the swell condition was such that they could do a dive, but there was nothing to report from that dive," he added.

          Amongst the missing are the skipper, 52-year-old father of four Michael Hayes, orignally from Waterford but who had been operating the trawler out of Union Hall in West Cork.

          Also missing is 21-year-old Kevin Kershaw from Clonakility, who it is thought had gone out on the vessel with a view to considering a career in fishing.

          Extensive searches yesterday failed to locate the men, and their three Egyptian crewmates, who had been living in Skibereen.

          Read more:

          Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


          • #6
            Father joins search for trawlermen off West Cork coast

            Monday, January 16, 2012 - 07:47 PM

            Paddy Kershaw, pictured today
            The father of a young man feared drowned on a trawler with four experienced fishermen believes his son’s body is on board.

            Paddy Kershaw joined teams on local boats searching for 21-year-old Kevin as they scoured the site of the Adam and Eve rocks near Glandore, West Cork, for a second unsuccessful day.

            The search has been called off for the night.

            “I’d rather be out on the water and be out there on the site where it took place,” he said.

            The last time he heard from Kevin was when he was putting out to sea for his first trip on a trawler.

            “The last text message I got was Friday at 3.30pm. I still have it in my phone. He was excited about going on the ship,” he said.

            “I think the bodies are in the hull of the boat, and I think myself they were asleep when they hit the rocks.”

            The boat is visible at low tide but Navy co-ordinators refused to allow teams into the water due to persistent two metre swells sweeping in from the south.

            Lieutenant Commander Paddy Harkin, Commander of the LE Niamh, said the swells from the south were hampering efforts to get dive teams on to the wreck.

            “The decision to commence an underwater search of the Tit Bonhomme and the immediate vicinity remains under constant review between myself, the Naval Dive Team Leader and the Coastguard,” he said.

            Kevin Kershaw, originally from Dublin but living with an aunt in Clonakilty for the last few years, had been considering a career on fishing boats.

            He was on board the Tit Bonhomme with skipper Michael Hayes, the founder of the Helvic lifeboat station, when it went down about 6am on Sunday. Mr Hayes is the husband of Caitlin Ni Aodha, spokeswoman for the Irish Fishermen’s Organisation and brother of Chief Superintendent Tom Hayes.

            Four Egyptians were also crew on the trawler – the only survivor Mohammed Abd Elgwad was rescued yesterday by a Coast Guard helicopter crew after spending hours in the water before managing to scramble on to rocks.

            The others were Weal Abd Elgwad, Mohammed’s brother, and Said Ali Eldien and Shaban Farrg – all from the same fishing region near Alexandria.

            The search was stood down for a second night as dive teams failed to get on to the wreck because of heavy swells even though the wreck is visible at low tide. Wreckage from the boat was strewn over a wide area.

            About 18 boats were on the water from first light today, including Union Hall fishing boats trawling across the entrance to the harbour in pairs with nets tied between them.

            A Garda dive team managed to get in the water near to the harbour where the sea was calmer.

            According to the RNLI, conditions at sea improved this morning and visibility was good but persistent swells hampered searches.

            The surviving fisherman, Mohammed Add Elgwad, returned to the pier in Union Hall this afternoon where he met relatives of the missing men.

            He spent time with them in a quayside office and it is understood he recounted what he knew about the tragedy. He has also been interviewed by gardai. Prayers were offered for the men on the pier as searches took place.

            The Tit Bonhomme was formerly a French-registered trawler, which was co-owned by Mr Hayes until recently, when he took sole control about six months ago.

            Simon Coveney, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Marine, said: “It’s a tragedy. There’s no other way to describe it.

            “There’s a huge community effort going on and everything that can be done is being done but there is no getting away from the tragedy.”

            Mr Kershaw added his family will have to take things day by day.

            Fellow Egyptian Izar Arafa visited Union Hall pier and spoke to survivor Mohammed Add Elgwad.

            He revealed the windows of the wheelhouse were smashed in when the trawler crashed and he escaped with a life jacket.

            Mr Arafa also said his friend lost the life jacket and then found it again as he spent up to three hours trying to make it to safety.

            The Adam and Eve rocks are notorious in the area. Just last month, three fishermen were rescued from a life raft after their trawler sank at the same spot.

            The Jeanette Roberta was sailing out from Union Hall pier when it went down close to Adam, the larger of the two rocks at the narrow entrance to the harbour.

            Read more:

            Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


            • #7
              Would one of the CPVs have been a better choice for the search as the smaller size would be more appropriate to the confined waters off Union Hall.


              • #8
                Niamh would handle better in the current weather conditions.

                Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


                • #9
                  Whats with the RoV,earlier in the week the skipper of Niamh highlighted the NS diving skills and made ref to ROV,I thought the NS had given it up and had a sla with CG and MarIn to use the Marin one.Usually subject to depth, the NS prefer to RoV wrecks before full dive.


                  • #10
                    Doesn't seem like a dive deep enough to necessitate it. Current problem is weather, and particularly wind.

                    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


                    • #11
                      Divers search wreck for missing men
                      Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 01:48 PM

                      Navy teams have today begun a dive on the wreck of a trawler in the search for the bodies of five fishermen.

                      A six-man unit is on the site of the sunken boat, the Tit Bonhomme, on Adam’s Island in Glandore Bay, off west Cork, where it went down on Sunday morning.

                      It is the first time that the weather and Atlantic swells have eased sufficiently to allow divers to get near the wreck.

                      Nets and other debris being washed in and out of the trawler have also posed serious dangers as the search goes into its fourth day.

                      The bodies of skipper Michael Hayes, 21-year-old first-time crewman Kevin Kershaw and three experienced Egyptian fishermen are believed to be on board.

                      Navy spokeswoman Lieutenant Commander Roberta O'Brien said a team of six Navy divers and a co-ordinator were taking advantage of the break in the weather.

                      It is understood an initial 10-minute assessment dive is normally carried out before divers take to the water for a more extensive search.

                      The swell dropped to 0.5m (1ft 7in) and the wind shifted direction from southerly to westerly overnight, helping to ease conditions at the wreck site.

                      Relatives of the missing men have maintained pier-side vigils since the alarm was raised at 6am on Sunday.

                      "Diving teams have actually got into the wreck this morning, that's the first time they have managed to do that," said Coastguard spokesperson Gerard O'Flynn earlier.

                      "They made more progress than they had anticipated.

                      "Diving conditions are difficult, but they got in close to the wreck and they've made an assessment of the options, and they are developing a plan for a more detailed dive this afternoon.

                      "Visibility is quite good in there."

                      Read more:

                      Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


                      • #12
                        Divers appear very methodical in search,most likely are noting/checking position of engine controls etc to assist in basis for casualty report.


                        • #13
                          I see on AIS local boats seem to be searching the harbour and nearby coastlines in a very organised manner. In addition the Coastguard heli flew a search pattern to the south yesterday. Seems as if it appears no crew remains are aboard.

                          Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


                          • #14
                            Two bodies have now been recovered during the search for the crew of the Tit Bonhomme off the Cork coast.

                            It is understood that divers have recovered the body of 21-year-student Kevin Kershaw.

                            Earlier, the body of 26-year-old Attia Shaban was identified by one of his friends on the pier at Union Hall.

                            Mr Shaban had been in Ireland for two years and had recently moved to Skibbereen from Union Hall.

                            He had no other family in Ireland and was from Borg Meghezel, which is in Kafr El Sheikh region of Egypt.

                            The Tit Bonhomme sank in heavy seas early on Sunday morning.

                            Skipper Michael Hayes, 52, and Egyptians Wael Mohammed and Saied Ali Eldin are still missing.

                            Diving at the wreck of the vessel has not been possible as yet today but the divers are continuing to search the water close to the wreck.

                            Yesterday, the Garda and Naval dive teams made what search co-ordinators from the Irish Coastguard described as ''significant progress'' during a series of dives around the vessel yesterday.

                            The trawler appears to be wedged in a narrow inlet or cove and the wash and backwash on rocks on either side of it are said to be hampering the dive teams.

                            The Coastguard says this is one element of a comprehensive search which includes teams on the shore, trawlers outside and inside Glandore Harbour, helicopters from Shannon and Waterford and many smaller boats and kayaks checking dozens of narrow, isolated coves.


                            Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


                            • #15