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David Allison reports for BBC Scotland
"Underwater surveillance suggests a salvage operation is possible"
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BBC News reporter Andrew Cassell
"Authorities believe the wreck of the Solway Harvester can be raised"
 real 28k

Friday, 21 January, 2000, 11:41 GMT
Trawler wreck to be salvaged

Solway Harvester The vessel is lying 11 miles off the Isle of Man

The trawler which sank in the Irish Sea with the loss of its seven crew is to be lifted within the next two weeks.

The decision has been taken by the council of ministers on the Isle of Man, who have jurisdiction over the waters in which the Solway Harvester is lying, 11 miles east of Douglas.

Plans are now being made to secure a salvage firm with the equipment to raise the wreck, which is thought to contain the crew's bodies.

Families' feelings

The firm which recovered the wreck of the Peterhead fishing boat Sapphire in 1997 - Dronik, of Aboyne in Aberdeenshire - is meeting the Manx Government on Friday.

The Solway Harvester, a scallop dredger, sank in heavy seas on 11 January.

Solway Harvester crew
Skipper Craig Mills, 29
Robin Mills, 33
David Mills, 18
John Murphy, 22
Martin Milligan, 26
David Lyons, 17
Wesley Jolly, 17
The Chief Minister of the Isle of Man, Donald Gelling, said: ""We can understand the feelings of the families and their desire to have their menfolk back.

"If we can give the families the comfort of returning the crew members for burial then we will do so."

The expenditure is still to be approved by the Manx Parliament, but this is likely to happen next Tuesday at a special sitting.

Underwater survey

It is hoped recovery can take place within the next two weeks, weather permitting.

An underwater survey of the wreck has located one body but experts believe the others may still be on board.

The Sapphire sank with the loss of four crew in October 1997 and families fought a successful campaign to have the wreck lifted from the seabed so the bodies could be recovered.

Alistair Geddes, a councillor in the men's home community of Whithorn, was grateful to the Isle of Man Government for its pledge to raise the wreck.

He said: "The community is totally behind the families in their endeavours to bring the boys home.

"The quicker the boat is raised and the quicker the crew is recovered the better for the families and the community."

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Trawler sinking
The unfolding of the Solway Harvester story

See also:
19 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Body spotted on sunken trawler
18 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Cameras film sunken trawler
16 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Tears and prayers for lost fishermen

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