Rescuers give up search for missing Jersey fishermen

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Jersey’s coastguard Friday abandoned a search for three fishermen missing for nearly 36 hours after their boat hit a freight ship.

Skipper Michael Michieli and two crew members from the Channel island went missing early Thursday when their 18-metre (60-foot) wooden vessel collided with the Commodore Goodwill off Jersey.

The fishing boat, L’Ecume II, sank in about 40 meters of water, too deep for divers to search without specialist equipment, the Jersey Coastguard said.

“All possible rescue activities will have been exhausted in an effort to find the three missing fishermen,” he said just before giving up the search at sunset on Friday.

“We are aware that this is very difficult for friends and family of the men, and we extend our deepest sympathies to all those affected by this tragic incident.”

The search was assisted by UK lifeboat volunteers, two French helicopters and local fishermen.

The Ports of Jersey authority said it had chartered a remotely operated craft to conduct an underwater search of the collision site, which is set to arrive early next week.

Fisherman William Jackson said he had known Michieli since he was a child.

“He’s probably one of the most prominent fishermen on the island and in the community,” Jackson told BBC Jersey.

“I was just shocked, absolutely shocked. The whole thing didn’t make any sense really,” he said, stressing that conditions were “perfect” when L’Ecume II had set sail.

The Commodore Goodwill, owned by Condor Ferries, remains docked in Saint Hellier, Jersey’s capital. Photographs showed large gashes on its prow.

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