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Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Fifteen years since the Bugaled Breizh was lost.

The Bugaled Breizh entering her home port of Loctudy in 1990

It is fifteen years since the Loctudy based Bugaled Breizh was lost with all hands off the Lizard.

This 24-metre long trawler, built in 1987 at Pont-Lorois (in Morbihan) by South Brittany (CBS), sank in international waters off the Lizard (South End - West of great Britain) at 49° 42 ' 346 ' n and 5° 10 ' w on 15 January 2004 at 12 p.m. UTC, 13 local. 

The fishing boat registered at the Guilvinec, owned by Michel Douce, boatowner and artisanal fisherman (who, today works with SNSM). Lost in the shipwreck were the five sailors: skipper Yves Gloaguen, Georges LemĂ©tayer, Pascal le Floch, Patrick Gloaguen and Eric Guillamet. 

The trawler, which had been sheltering in the small port of Newlyn since the beginning of the week, had gone back and sailed in a relatively calm sea when it sent out an SOS. Another trawler the gave the alert and relief was launched (two helicopters, two lifeboats, one tug and fishing boats nearby). Less than an hour later, a Royal Navy helicopter found two bodies and, according to witnesses two or three survival rafts were spotted but they were empty.



The loss has long been attributed to the actions of an unknown submarine taking part in a huge naval exercise that was taking place at the same time.

The boat was eventually raised by the French Navy and several enquiries have since followed. None of them resulting in an official explanation for the loss.

Skipper Michelle Douce has since become an ambassador of safety at sea for the French equivalent of the RNLI and continues, along with other member of the families involved in the tragedy to seek answers. There is a website - BugaledBreizh.org - that has continues to chronicle all the events surrounding the loss and subsequent investigations - available in English.

The boat was also the subject of a TV documentary team:




Several books have been written in connection with the loss and subsequent enquiries:

Bugaled Breizh: 37 Seconds

Thersiquel - Route pĂȘche