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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 January 2006, 10:20 GMT
Divers beginning trawler search
Sichem Pandora
The crew of the Sichem Pandora said they heard no collision
Divers are expected to begin searching the wreck of a French fishing trawler for the bodies of its crew after it sank off the north coast of Alderney.

The Kleine Familie sank last Thursday. Five crew are missing, one was rescued.

On Monday, French navy divers tried to search the wreck but could not because ropes and lines were in the way.

It comes after French authorities announced that paint found on the hull of chemical tanker Sichem Pandora was that of the French trawler.

No distress signal

On Tuesday, a floating platform is expected to be towed above the wreckage so a French minesweeper can begin cutting away the debris.

The Sichem Pandora was on its way from Tunisia to the Netherlands with 15 crew on board when it was escorted to Dunkirk by French Maritime Police and impounded.

The captain and crew of the Sichem Pandora told French police that they were unaware of a collision with another vessel and heard no distress signal.

Thursday's major air and sea search included French coastguards, military craft, lifeboats from Alderney and the Channel Islands Air Search plane.

The 50ft (15.2m) fishing trawler, which was found on the seabed near the Casquets reef, came from the port of Cherbourg.

The investigation into the sinking is being led by BEAmer, the French marine accident authority.

The Maltese shipping authority, which has jurisdiction over the area, has also launched an investigation into the five missing fishermen.

Officials examine paint samples
08 Jan 06 |  Guernsey
Trawler sinking - ship impounded
06 Jan 06 |  Guernsey
Air-sea search for fishing boat
05 Jan 06 |  Guernsey

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