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Sixteen year old skipper’s heart-break over lost trawler

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EXCLUSIVE by Matthew Bearne

 

THE PEMBROKESHIRE HERALD has spoken exclusively to the skipper of the a Milford-registered fishing boat, who was dramatically rescued along with the rest of his crew last week.

The Cesca, a 16 metre trawler,sank off north Wales on Thursday (Feb 12).

The vessel ran into difficulties off The Llyn Peninsula, but despite the best efforts of the crew and coastguard, she finally sank at around 2330HRS.  The four-man crew, who had abandoned ship, was airlifted off the life-raft in difficult conditions. After a check-up in Bangor hospital, they were released the same night.

Sixteen-year-old Jake Bowman-Davies, the youngest fully-qualified skipper in the British Isles, talked of his efforts to save the boat after she started taking on water on passage from Milford Haven to grounds off Conwy.

He told The Herald: “At ten o’ clock the bilge pumps suddenly started running flat out.  I put the auxiliary pumps on and called the coastguard, requesting assistance and pumps.  They told me to report the boat’s bearing and position every ten minutes, which we did.”

Skipper Bowman-Davies added: “I aimed the boat at land, so I could beach her as a last resort.  We started taking on water fifteen miles out, and we got within four miles of the coast before the helicopter turned up with the pumps.  They asked us to alter our course to 210 degrees so they could lower the equipment down to us.”

Sank: The Cesca

Sank: The Cesca

“By this point the engine had failed due to the leak, and the boat had reached the point of no recovery, so we told the helicopter crew that we were abandoning ship.’

Jake described jumping off the boat in the dark in force 8 winds as ‘the scariest moment of my life”

“It broke my heart to leave the Cesca.  She had been in the family since I was ten.  I did everything I could to save her, but at the end of the day the safety of the crew comes first,” he added.

The owner of the Cesca, Jake’s father Timothy Bowman-Davies, praised the Seafish Training scheme.  Both Jake and leading hand Nathan Edmundson (23) hold their 16.5 metre skippers’ tickets, and the other crew, Luke Lane and twenty-year-old Dai Crofts, have completed all their mandatory certification.

“What they learned on the Sea Survival Course definitely contributed to their safe recovery.  Without this training the outcome could have been disastrous,’ he said, before thanking the rescue services for their ‘speedy response and professionalism.’

‘I’m so relieved to have my son and crew home safely.  Without these institutions in place seamen of the United Kingdom would run a far greater risk,” he added.

The cause of the the Cesca’s sinking remains unknown.  However, Jake believes that the boat hit a submerged object in the water.  “The helicopter crew told me that they could see something sticking out of the side of the boat.  However, I don’t think we’ll ever know exactly what happened,” he said.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Wullie B

    February 16, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    How can a 16 year old hold the Under 16.5 skippers ticket when it was a pre requisite to have TWO years full time experience at sea, how do I know this, I sat the ticket four years ago and it was the first thing we were asked was our sea time. Fair do\’s the lad had the qualification, but he didn\’t have the experience

  2. Elliott

    February 17, 2015 at 12:41 am

    As his father owned the boat he has probably been at sea for enough of the hours required, when I took my sea survival there was a young lad of 13 on the course going to work his fathers boat.

  3. Denise

    February 18, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    I represent Seafish and would like to clarify this point.

    Jake Bowman-Davies has completed all the required training for the Skipper’s Certificate(which is brilliant), but he is not eligible for a Seafish Under 16.5m Skipper’s Certificate until he can evidence a minimum two years’ experience as a full-time commercial fisherman (since leaving school). This effectively rules out anyone under 18 years of age.

    I can confirm that we have not issued Jake with a Seafish Under 16.5m Skipper’s Certificate.

    It is also worth pointing out that there is no (legal) requirement for skippers of commercial fishing vessels less than 16.5m to be qualified or have completed any training other than basic safety training. Whether this is right or not is another debate. Personally, we believe all Skipper’s should be fully qualified.

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    July 31, 2017 at 4:55 pm

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News

Cleddau Bridge Hotel fire started deliberately

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A RESPONSE to a Freedom of Information Act request made by Llanion councillor Joshua Beynon reveals that the fire which devastated the Cleddau Bridge Hotel on March 30 this year was arson.

The blaze followed a protracted period during which the hotel had been empty following the refusal of a planning application for change of use to residential accommodation.

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that investigators have now concluded the fire investigation regarding the fire that took place at the Cleddau Bridge Hotel on March 30, 2019.

“The investigation determined that the fire was started deliberately, and all relevant information has duly been passed on to Dyfed Powys Police.”

The Herald has asked Dyfed Powys Police to comment on the progress of its investigation.

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News

No prosecutions in Pembroke Dock grant fraud allegations

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MORE than five years since allegations of impropriety in publicly-funded building restoration grants were taken up by the police, the local force tells Pembrokeshire County Council chief executive, Ian Westley, in a letter circulated to councillors: “The Crown Prosecution Service has determined that there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction against any of the suspects.”

More details to follow – the matter will also be discussed at this Thursday’s full council meeting.

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Education

Fishguard school last in Wales without broadband

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CHILDREN in a school in Fishguard are excited about next term before the summer holidays have even begun.

Ysgol Llanychllwydog is the last school in Wales without broadband.

The pupils sometimes have to wait half an hour for pages to load. Sometimes videos won’t play. Now the school is looking forward to an ultra-fast future, and for the head teacher the changes cannot come quickly enough.

Currently when the internet goes down Amanda Lawrence has to drive 10 minutes to her other school to send an email to report it.

“It’s frustrating. There are lots of schools that are able to use schemes where you can plan electronically, but it’s difficult for staff here to do that,” she said.

As part of a scheme to target hard-to-reach places, fibre optic cable is being laid along a 15-mile route from Haverfordwest.

Matt Lovegrove, who works for Openreach, admitted it had been ‘a massive challenge’.

He said: “We’ve had to plough 1.5 miles of new trench to put new duct in, we’ve had to put new poles and had to span the cable between 50 poles as well, so a real variety of challenges.

“The product is limitless in terms of speed. It’s gigabit capable, that means they can download music, interactive learning et cetera, and it will be instant for them.”

The wider community will also benefit from the upgrade, he said. “We are looking to work with local government and residents to expand that fibre footprint to as much of the village as possible.”

“They’ll be able to access the high speed broadband and again get all the benefits from that.”

The last school in Wales without broadband

Broadband is a Welsh Government priority. It’s invested £13.8m in school broadband.

But Llanarchllwydog has been a tough nut. It’s taken the efforts of Welsh and UK governments to bring broadband.

“Because of the challenging topography, that we are familiar with, it has taken rather a long time to make sure that every school is equipped with the broadband speeds that they need,” said Welsh education minister Kirsty Williams.

“This means that schools will have the external infrastructure that they need to deliver our exciting new curriculum and I hope to be making an announcement shortly on further investment on kit and equipment inside schools.”

The work is being done through the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) £200m Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme.

DCMS minister Margot James MP agrees cooperation between the two governments has helped deliver the project.

“That’s not the end of it for Wales,” Ms James said.

“The other aspects of the rural gigabit connectivity programme is that we are using that £200 million to bring full fibre to local public buildings like hospitals and schools so that they get the gigabit connectivity first.”

The cable has now reached the telegraph post outside the school. The final work will happen over summer.

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