A salvage team is preparing to raise the wreckage of a £1.8m Pershing 62 motor cruiser, two weeks after it sank off the Jersey coast. It is being described as a “complicated and potentially very hazardous” operation by local authorities.
The salvage firm, instructed by the boat owner’s insurance company and approved by Ports of Jersey, is waiting for a four-day window of settled weather before attempting to lift the 19-metre yacht, which still has around 2,000 litres of diesel in its tanks.
The Pershing 62 went down rapidly after hitting a large metal navigation marker buoy in St Aubin’s Bay. Two men evacuated the sinking yacht on a life raft and were subsequently rescued by fire fighters.
Since the incident, Ports of Jersey has been undertaking surveys of the wreck and are monitoring the area each day for signs of pollution. After initially moving around, the yacht has settled on the seabed in recent days and so far no traces of fuel have been detected.
Tim du Feu, environment director for Ports of Jersey, commented, “All efforts will be made to reduce the risk of a diesel spill during this process and Ports of Jersey are closely working with the Department for the Environment and Oil Spill Response Limited.
“As a precaution, OSRL were tasked by Ports of Jersey to carry out a modelling assessment to determine the fate of the diesel if it were to be lost from the fuel tanks all at once. The output has provided important information that will help determine the most effective response to minimise any environmental impact if all the fuel were lost. The model showed that most of the light diesel will be lost to evaporation and that a small quantity will end up at Green Island.
“The salvage operation in itself represents the greatest risk of leakage so it is important that we get the methodology right and again we will work with OSLR around this.“