I've been stewing, after realizing that the position of the wreck of the Miss Ally is known by the Coast Guard and Transport Canada.
We know the search has been terminated and handed over to the RCMP. Fine. We all know the limitations imposed by red tape.
At the moment, the communities of Wood's Harbour and Cape Sable Island are considering hiring a private dive outfit to potentially perform a salvage operation on the Miss Ally. This, in my opinion, is an amazing act of courage and cooperation by the families and our "Down Shore" communities. Their willingness to do whatever possible to get some answers here should have the complete backing and support of, not only us in Western Nova Scotia, but the entire province and all Atlantic maritime communities.
Beyond the fact that the Miss Ally was out in a storm, beyond the fact that the Coast Guard has suspended their search for the five missing men, the fact that officials know the location of the Miss Ally is enough of a reason to at least make some sort of an attempt to, not only locate the Miss Ally, but at a very minimum to do an inspection to see what type of structural damage she incurred.
There are countless factors that could have happened to her before the EPIRP (emergency locator beacon) was activated. Loss of power could have wiped out their communications and means of propulsion. Did they lose one of their wheelhouse windows, flooding the bridge with water and causing a free surface effect? Were they exposed to heavy sleet and snow accumulation, causing an additional loss of stability? None of these questions will be answered ever, if the Miss Ally isn't at the very least inspected up close by a salvage vessel, let alone an ROV (remotely operated vehicle) inspection and possible diver inspection.
It's beyond obvious that the families of those lost would hope to find some of their loved ones inside the wreckage. However, in addition to this, from a learning and safety perspective, we as a seafaring community, as a province, as a nation, deserve to know what happened to the Miss Ally. The technology and more importantly the expertise, is available, right here in Nova Scotia, to go out there and do our best — to do what any parent/fisherman would do — to bring what we can back home and find out whatever we can as to what happened. Do what is right!
This story has made international headlines. The people of Nova Scotia should rally behind this effort and, at the very least, respect them for refusing to let the limitations of Transport Canada leave answers to this tragedy floating away.
Captain Jamie Hood