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Tuesday, 27 June, 2000, 20:55 GMT 21:55 UK
Solway Harvester's final sea journey
Harvester flag
Barnacle and rust cover the Saltire on the vessel
Click here for pictures of the salvaged trawler.


The Solway Harvester has completed its final sea journey after being salvaged off the Isle of Man.

The scallop dredger, which sank in January with the loss of all seven crew, has been towed into Ramsey Harbour after being lifted from the seabed by the salvage vessel MV Norma.

The crew of the Norma, who had hoisted the vessel using a huge crane on Monday evening, had waited for full tide before completing the operation.

The Kircudbright-based trawler is now expected to remain in the harbour for several weeks while the investigation into the cause of the sinking continues.
Solway Harvester
People gather in Ramsey to see the wreck
When the vessel first broke surface, a liferaft could be seen on the stern. The hull and superstructure was covered in dirt and seaweed.

The salvage, which had been continually hampered by bad weather, began at 1900BST on Monday.

Divers had attached cables to the boat and the Norma was able to lift her from the seabed nearly two hours later.

So far, Marine Accident Investigation Branch experts have relied on video evidence collected by underwater cameras.

An initial report from the MAIB said that a hatch had been left open and liferafts were not attached to the vessel.

'Quick answers' sought

The bodies of all seven crewmen were recovered by divers in February, after the Isle of Man Government pledged to take the men back home to their families for burial.

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

They 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.
John Scoular
John Scoular: "Long saga"
John Scoular, a spokesman for the bereaved, said: "The families hope that this will mean that some answers are found for the reasons why such a modern boat foundered so quickly in what were relatively difficult, but not impossible conditions.

"Right at the very beginning there was talk of containers in the sea, or it could possibly have been another vessel which didn't realise, or chose to steam on.

"There's never been definite evidence that there was not some kind of collision.

"It has been such a long saga. I think people are really in a sense relieved it is getting near the end of what has been a very sad business and we will get some answers, which may allow all the people involved to get on with their lives.

"The community will never forget this tragedy, but we all have to go on into the future."

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 ON THIS STORY
John Scoular, on behalf of victims' families
"Never been definitive evidence that there wasn't some kind of collision"

In DepthIN DEPTH
In Depth section on the Solway Harvester sinkingSolway Harvester
How the tragedy unfolded
See also:

22 Jun 00 | Scotland
25 May 00 | Scotland
23 May 00 | Scotland
19 May 00 | Scotland
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