Once again the families of five missing fishermen have seen their hopes dashed.
There had been hope that the bodies of the fishermen would be discovered inside the capsized hull of the Miss Ally so they could be returned home to their loved ones for burial, but instead divers found nothing except for extensive damage to the fishing boat.
At approximately, 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23, the captain of a private fishing vessel Slave Driver communicated to the crew of the Canadian Coast Guard Vessel the Sir William Alexander that divers from the vessel went to the over-turned Miss Ally and visually confirmed that no wheelhouse, or sleeping quarters were attached to the hull of the Miss Ally and that no bodies were located.
The over-turned hull had been relocated by a Department of National Defence surveillance flight at 9:38 a.m. Saturday. The news came after two days of reports that the Miss Ally, which had been seen earlier in the week, could not be found.
In support of the RCMP, the Canadian Coast Guard vessel, Sir William Alexander, with two RCMP members onboard remains on the scene to provide safety and security in the vicinity of the vessel.
“On behalf of RCMP and Department of National Defence and Canadian Coast Guard, we express our deepest sympathies to the families,” said RCMP Superintendent Sylvie Bourassa-Muise, District Policing Officer, Southwest Nova Scotia.
The HMCS Glace Bay remains on route to the site of the Miss Ally, with augmentation from Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic). The ship is expected to arrive in the area overnight and will conduct a remotely operated vehicle underwater (ROV) assessment of the Miss Ally in the morning in an effort to gather more information and photos from the vessel.
Joint Task Force Atlantic will continue to support the RCMP's request for air surveillance and maintain air coverage of the scene until further notice.
The over-turned Miss Ally is located 129 nautical miles South East of Halifax, where the water depth is 900 metres. The overturned vessel is, approximately 25 nautical miles North West of the last emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) signal.
The crew of the Miss Ally included Katlin Nickerson, Joel Hopkins, Stephen Cole Nickerson, Tyson Townsend and Billy Jack Hatfield. They were young fishermen, ranging in age from their early 20s to early 30s.
The crew had been on the water for days halibut fishing trip when the boat got caught in a Feb. 17 storm that was accompanied by 10-metre seas and hurricane-force winds that night. A search was conducted but called off at 6 p.m. on Feb. 19.
Family members and the community demanded that the search be resumed. They wanted the hull of the vessel searched. The search resumed on Feb. 21.