HC Deb 01 February 1979 vol 961 cc541-2W
Mr. Hicks

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will order an official public inquiry into the sinking and loss of the fishing vessel "Do it Again" off Looe on Saturday 20 January; if he will request the assistance of a Royal Navy mine-hunter to locate the vessel; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Clinton Davis

The motor fishing vessel "Do it Again" sailed from Looe at about 11.15 on Saturday 20 January with a two-man crew on board: this was the last reported sighting of the vessel. On leaving Looe harbour weather conditions were fair but later some deterioration occurred with wind reaching SW force 5 and a moderately heavy sea swell. It is understood that the purpose of the voyage was to test stern trawling gear with which the vessel had recently been fitted.

The vessel was reported overdue to the Coastguard at 21.54 on the same day. Immediate inquiries were initiated by the Coastguard, including radio broadcasts and an extensive co-ordinated search of the area by two RNLI lifeboats and an air sea rescue launch assisted by numerous fishing vessels was undertaken. This was augmented by a helicopter search which commenced at first light on 21 January. Subsequently some debris was sighted and a body, later identified as that of the skipper of the "Do it Again", was recovered by helicopter. The search operation, which continued until darkness on 21 January, did not locate the second crew member.