Naval Service Vessel and Diving Team join the Search for Missing Fisherman.

Update  - 4.20pm Tuesday 17 January 2012

The LÉ Niamh and Naval Dive Team remains on scene off the Cork Coast. The prevailing weather conditions in the area have continued to prevent safe diving operations in the immediate vicinity of the Tit Bonhomme. The sea state has been assessed as having deteriorated slightly in the last twenty four hours. Some diving operations have been successfully completed in the bay by the dive team, diving operations on the vessel itself remain an unacceptable risk to life.

The potential for frustration amongst family and friends of the missing men are fully appreciated by the Naval Personnel involved in the search. A temporary maritime exclusion zone has been established by the Coastguard around the site in order to prevent unauthorised persons or vessels from approaching the scene or entering the water.

The Naval Service Dive Team are a specifically trained and equipped team with experience in these type of search operations. Naval Dive Team Leader, Lieutenant Conor Kirwan stated this afternoon “Conditions in the immediate vicinity of the vessel remain particularly treacherous, only the Naval and Garda Dive Teams with their extensive support should dive the Tit Bonhomme. We do not want to compound this tragedy with a further tragedy.”

The Coastguard, Naval Dive Team Leader and Gardai are continuing to monitor weather conditions and hope a change in weather may allow a window to extend diving operations to the vessel. 

Update - 4.15pm , Monday 16 January 2012

The Naval Service Vessel LÉ Niamh remains on station off the Cork Coast and continues to act as the on scene coordinating vessel for the ongoing search operation. In line with our service level agreement with the Coastguard, the Naval Service has provided a maritime platform for the coordination of the various search agencies involved.

The Naval Service are deeply conscious of the families and friends of the missing men and the wider fishing community and will commence diving operations on the Tit Bonhomme as soon as safe diving conditions prevail in the immediate vicinity. Whilst conditions in most of the bay are safe for diving, the area where the vessel is located remains treacherous.

The weather conditions and resultant sea swell continue to hamper the use of the Specialist Naval Diving Team which has been on scene since yesterday afternoon. The team are concentrating their efforts on pockets of debris in the bay where conditions are suitable for diving and have completed operations in those areas.

" The decision to commence an underwater search of the Tit Bonhomme and the immediate vicinity remains under constant review between myself, the Naval Dive Team Leader and the Coastguard." said Lieutenant Commander Paddy Harkin, Commander of the LE Niamh this afternoon.

Any updates on this ongoing operation will be communicated to the media immediately.

The Naval Service have deployed the vessel LÉ Niamh to the Glandore area of the Cork Coast this afternoon to assist in the search for the crew of the fishing vessel "Tit Bonhomme". A Naval Service Diving Team who were engaged in a search for a missing person in the River Corrib in Galway has been re-tasked to Glandore also.

The Naval Service have deployed these assets in response to a request from Valentia Coastguard and are expected to commence operations on scene shortly after 3pm.

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Press Release Date:  15 January, 2012

For Further Information contact:

Press Officer: Comdt. Denis Hanly

Tel: 045 49 2502 , 045 49 2503

Mobile : 087 2482130

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