Work to recover boat begins after body washed up in Blackpool

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

It is understood that the operation will take many days, with preparatory work underway

 

Work has begun to recover a boat wreck off the North Wales coast that went missing in January.

The vessel – the Nicola Faith – was last seen on January 27, 2021 after going missing while at sea.

Three men were on board at the time of the vanishing – skipper Carl McGrath, 34, and crewmates Ross Ballantine, 39, and Alan Minard, 20.

Tragically, the bodies of all three have since found on shorelines in the North West.

Mr McGrath was discovered off the South Promenade in Blackpool on March 13. Mr Ballantine was found at West Kirby Beach, Wirral, and Mr Minard at Meols Promenade, Wirral.

The Nicola Faith has remained in the ocean since the tragedy, with a huge salvage barge now being brought in to the water off Llanddulas in Conwy to recover the sunken vessel.

It is understood that the operation will take many days, with preparatory work underway today, reports North Wales Live.

On Friday morning, the barge arrived in place.

(L-R) Ross Ballantine, 39, Alan Minard, 20, and Carl McGrath, 34 who went missing on board the Nicola Faith on January 27

(L-R) Ross Ballantine, 39, Alan Minard, 20, and Carl McGrath, 34 who went missing on board the Nicola Faith on January 27 (Image: Daily Post/Conwy Hub News)

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has previously said it will raise the Nicola Faith using the specially designed barge crane to carry out an “in-depth examination” into the cause of the sinking.

A previous statement said: “Since locating and identifying Nicola Faith in April, the MAIB has gathered and analysed dive survey data from the vessel.

“We now intend to raise the vessel so that an in-depth examination and stability analysis can be carried out.

“The vessel will be raised using a specially designed barge crane that has been chartered by MAIB.

A crane barge over the Nicola Faith wreck site off the coast of Colwyn Bay.

A crane barge over the Nicola Faith wreck site off the coast of Colwyn Bay. (Image: Ian Cooper/North Wales Live)

“The operation will be undertaken when weather and tidal conditions are suitable.

“It will then be taken ashore to a secure location for further examination before being prepared for a stability assessment.

“The Chief Inspector’s notice to prohibit access to the wreck remains in place.

“The families of the crew members have been notified of the plans.”