THE investigation into the disappearance of a fishing boat off the coast of Conwy is “confident” it will be found.
Skipper Carl McGrath and crewmen Ross Ballantine and Steve (Alan) Minard were reported missing after their whelk fishing boat, the Nicola Faith, failed to arrive at Rhos-on-Sea harbour on Wednesday, January 27.
A huge search by eight RNLI and Coastguard lifeboat and helicopter crews was stood down on Friday, January 29
A probe is now being carried out by the UK Government’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) using sonar searches between Rhos-on-Sea and Conwy.
MAIB said it is likely that the boat will be found by officers carrying out the search, which it is hoped will establish the causes and circumstances leading to the loss of the vessel.
A spokesperson for the Marine Accident Investigation Branch said: “Extensive sonar searches are being carried out in the areas between Rhos-on-Sea and Conwy, but the searches have been hampered by weather conditions.
“We are confident that the vessel will be found in the near future. Our investigations are ongoing and a report will be produced and be made publicly available when complete.”
Bangor, Llandudno, Flint and Rhyl Coastguard Rescue Teams and Rhyl, Hoylake, Conwy, Beaumaris and Llandudno RNLI lifeboats, as well as the coastguard helicopter from Caernarfon and fixed-wing coastguard aircraft, were all involved in an extensive search, along with North Wales Police.
Two fundraisers that were launched after the fishing boat went missing raised more than £14,000.
An appeal launched by sister Lauren Hynes and fiancé Jake Cox to thank RNLI volunteer rescuers for their efforts during the two-day search raised £9,900.
A JustGiving fundraiser set up by Neil McCaster raised an additional £4,200 for the families of the missing crewmen.