MCIB/49 - St Gervase

Report Name
Report into the Sinking of the Irish Fishing Vessel "St Gervase" 
Mizen Head, Co. Cork. 
Date of Incident
Thursday 23 November 2000
Wednesday 16 July 2003
On November 23rd 2000 at 0102 hours GMT, the "St Gervase" a 64.50 feet wooden fishing vessel sailed from Castletownbere, Co. Cork. The vessel proceeded directly out to sea, bound for the fishing grounds, believed to be, to the south of the Fastnet Rock. Winds were from the North West force 3/ 5. Visibility was good with a rough seastate. A crew of four was on board. At 0255 hours GMT, EPIRB 121.5 MHz tracer signals were picked up and the original position estimate was 51 15.20 North 008 36.5 West. The initial 406 MHz report at 0308 was a detect only report. Following this report, unsuccessful efforts were made to contact the vessel. A mayday relay was broadcast and the rescue services in the area were tasked. The first Cospas / Sarsat satellite reception was at 0434 GMT and telexed at 0454. The position given indicated that the signal was coming from the Mizen Head area. Subsequently, a position of 51 27.249 North 009 49.131 West was confirmed. At 0640 hours debris was found by the Baltimore lifeboat off Mizen Head. All search units were directed to this area. Irish Navy divers carried out two dives of the area during the early afternoon but nothing was found. However, dive conditions were not favourable due to a large swell and were suspended until conditions improved. On the following morning a liferaft was found on the surface of the water, which was still attached by the painter to the vessel below. The divers carried out a number of dives during which they located the wreck and also the body of one of the crew. Due to the unfavourable weather conditions in the area, it was not possible to carry out further dives, until the 29th December, 2000. By this time the wreck was found to have been severely damaged and broken up on the sea bed. In the meantime, debris from the vessel had been washed up on the shoreline and a second crewmember's body was found in Dunmanus Bay.
Full Report
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