MAIB will not recover missing fishing boat
Marine accident investigators do not intend to recover the wreck of a fishing boat which sank in Loch Fyne.
Duncan MacDougall and Przemek Krawczyk were on board the Nancy Glen when it capsized on 18 January.
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) had been surveying the site to decide if the wreck could be raised but said it could not.
Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing said the Scottish government would support efforts to retrieve the bodies.
He said it was "only right" that the government intervened to help the families of the men.
The boat was lost within sight of Tarbert, where the crew and their families lived.
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Steve Clinch, the chief inspector of marine accidents, confirmed that the MAIB would not recover the wreck from the sea loch in Argyll and Bute.
He said: "The MAIB has now completed its review of the data obtained from last week's underwater surveys of the wreck of FV Nancy Glen.
"From this, and other evidence collected, we now know enough about the circumstances of the accident for us to complete our investigation, and we do not intend to recover the wreck.
"Our thoughts are with the families of Duncan MacDougall and Przemek Krawczyk who have been informed of the decision."
However MSP Fergus Ewing said the government would work with salvage specialists and the families of the crewmen to retrieve the bodies.
It has agreed to examine whether the vessel can be lifted from its position to enable recovery.
That would mean raising the boat to just below the surface to allow divers to enter and operate as safely as possible.
The costs would be met by the government.
A crowd-funding campaign to pay for the recovery of the men's bodies raised more than £200,000 in two weeks.
That money is now likely to go to the fishermen's families.
'We owe it to the families'
Mr Ewing said: "This has been a deeply distressing time for the families of Duncan MacDougall and Przemek Krawczyk.
"In these tragic and extremely exceptional circumstances, with the Nancy Glen having been lost within sight of the family homes and the wider community, it is only right that the Scottish government intervenes and works with the families and salvage experts to search the vessel.
"The money raised through crowdfunding can go to the families rather than the recovery operation.
"A recovery operation will pose serious logistical challenges, and will need to be undertaken with the safety of divers and others involved uppermost in mind."
He added: "This has been an upsetting time for all those involved, but we owe it to the families of the fishermen who were lost to mount this operation.
"And while there is no guarantee of a successful outcome, I hope our intervention will help bring some closure to the families and friends of Mr MacDougall and Mr Krawczyk."
The move was welcomed by the Clyde Fishermen's Association, who offered their "eternal thanks" on behalf of the families of the lost crewmen and the wider fishing community.
In a statement posted on Twitter, they thanked the government for its pledge to support a recovery operation.
"We understand this operation may not be successful but we are assured of their promise to do all they safely can to achieve this task," it said.