Equipment has been taken from a French fishing boat that washed up after a dramatic rescue

The public is being reminded about the law when it comes to finding wreck material on our coastline.

The warning comes after a number of people have taken equipment from the French fishing boat Le Sillon, which washed up on rocks near Porthcothan, Cornwall over the weekend.

Falmouth Coastguard coordinated the rescue of the six crewmen on board on Saturday 1 February after Le Sillon was hit by large waves in the stormy conditions, knocking out the power and steering.

Alison Kentuck, Receiver of Wreck with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), said: ‘All wreck material recovered must be reported, however small or seemingly insignificant.

‘The type of material that must be reported includes any part of the hull, fixtures, fittings, cargo and any fishing equipment.

‘If you recover an item, you have 28 days to fill out one of our report forms and submit it to us. You can find the forms on our website.

‘Those who don’t declare items are breaking the law and could find themselves facing fines of up to £2,500 and paying the owner twice the value of the item recovered.’

The rescue

The crew of the French trawler got in difficulty on Saturday afternoon when waves described as 30ft plus struck the boat, causing them to lose power and steering.

They were drifting approximately five miles off Trevose Head, with wind gusting to 60mph, when Padstow lifeboat and the Royal Navy rescue helicopter were called to their aid at around 4pm.

The fishermen had to leave Le Sillon and take to the water in their survival suits because the sea state was too bad for the rescue helicopter from RNAS Culdrose to lift them from the deck of their vessel.

Five of the crew were picked up from the water by the Royal Navy rescue helicopter and the skipper was picked up by the
RNLI lifeboat from Padstow. All six crew were brought ashore.

Padstow lifeboat 2nd Coxswain Richard Pitman said: ‘A great deal of credit must go the winch-man on the helicopter, the heavy sea conditions made his job very difficult as he was dragged in and out of the water with the rise and fall of the sea.

‘The conditions were challenging and it was a difficult rescue for all involved, we are pleased to have been able to assist.’

Warning to stay away

It is expected the wreck of Le Sillon will continue to break up, due to the continuing bad weather. It’s currently in an inaccessible area, and HM Coastguard is advising people not to risk their safety trying to reach or view it.


Le Sillon wreck.Credit: Merlin Farm Holiday Cottages Cornwall

Padstow lifeboat in heavy seas. Credit: Mel Price