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Thursday, 25 May, 2000, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Harvester salvage talks begin
Solway Harvester
The wreck of the vessel lies off the isle's coast
The Isle of Man Government has begun talks with salvage companies over plans to raise the wreck of the Solway Harvester.

The scallop dredger, which went down in heavy seas in January with the loss of the seven crewmen, is lying 10 miles off the island's coast, 38 metres below the surface of the Irish Sea.

Several attempts to raise the 75ft scallop dredger were thwarted earlier this year by poor weather and high seas.

Flowers
The seven crewmen lost their lives
In March, the Isle of Man's Chief Minister, Donald Gelling, announced further funding for the salvage operation, in addition to the 1m which had already been pledged by the Tynwald parliament.

The senior police investigator, chief inspector Dudley Butt, said on Tuesday that he hoped a new salvage attempt would be made on 20 June.

A spokesman for the Isle of Man Police said further details of the operation would be given when the plans were formally finalised.

Inquiries by the police and the Marine Accident Investigation Branch into the sinking of the scallop dredger have been continuing.

Raising the boat has been viewed as essential to solving the mystery of why the vessel sank so suddenly.

So far investigators have relied on video evidence collected by underwater cameras.

Grieving relatives

The families of those who died have expressed their wish to see the fishing boat lifted as they try to find answers about why their men perished.

The seven victims were all from the villages of Isle of Whithorn, Whithorn and Garlieston in the Machars area of Galloway, south west Scotland.

Last week their grieving relatives were visited by Prince Charles. He spent 25 minutes chatting with relatives, afterwards saying it was "very nice to meet them".

The seven crewmen who died in the tragedy were skipper Andrew Craig Mills, 29, his brother Robin, 33, their cousin David, 17, Martin Milligan, 26, John Murphy, 22, David Lyons, 18, and Wesley Jolly, 17.

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See also:

11 Apr 00 | Scotland
Fresh bid to lift Harvester wreck
22 Feb 00 | Scotland
Trawler probe finds safety flaws
13 Jan 00 | Scotland
Solway Harvester: The crew
23 May 00 | Scotland
New date for Harvester salvage
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