Monday, 4 October 2021

Bugaled Breizh - Why Thierry Lemétayer has been calling for the truth for 17 years

Bugaled Breizh entering Newlyn to shelter from a storm in the 1980s.

Thierry Lemétayer has been fighting for 17 years to find out the truth about the sinking of the Bugaled Breizh. The fight of a lifetime, for his father who, like four other crew members, perished at sea on January 15, 2004. From the investigation which opens in London on October 4, he hopes and expects a lot.

"What France refused us, Great Britain gives us" says Thierry Lemétayer whose father, Georges, disappeared with four other crew members during the sinking of the Bugaled Breizh in 2004 "What France refused us, Great Britain gives us" says Thierry Lemétayer whose father, Georges, disappeared with four other crew members during the sinking of the Bugaled Breizh in 2004.

On October 4, Thierry Lemétayer will cross the Channel, direction London. The Channel, as a symbol. This cursed sea in which, on January 15, 2004, her father disappeared during the sinking of the Bugaled Breizh . Georges was its mechanic. And it is for him that the son has been fighting for seventeen years in order to raise the gray areas on this tragedy which claimed the lives of five crew members. "I have a debt to my father," he said soberly.

Head on While the French justice definitively closes the file in 2014 by a dismissal, confirmed two years later by the court of cassation, the British justice, it decides to continue the investigation. And it is in London that this concern will begin for three weeks. "It is unexpected, three weeks, underlines Thierry Lemétayer. What France refused to us, Great Britain gives it to us" .

The mechanic's son really took the case head on in 2007. Until then, he had always thought "that there was a desire to find the culprits. I was quite naive" he confides . At the time, a judicial investigation was opened in Quimper and concluded that there was a fishing accident, a theory validated by the Bureau of Investigation of Marine Events (BEAmer) .

There is some evidence that we haven't been in the fantasy for all these years

The families of the sailors are united against this desire of the Quimper prosecutor to close the case. "And then our lawyer began to talk about dismissal, if we continued the procedure, that repelled me, explains Thierry Lemétayer. I found that this idea came very quickly. We changed lawyers and we have seriously explored the trail of a collision by a working submarine in the Bugaled fishing area, a track he will never give up.

"This door, I do not close it. There are elements which show that we have not been in the fantasy for all these years. The judge in charge of the investigation does not close any door either. He does not. he doesn't take sides, but neither does he lower his head when naval officers stamp their feet and try to apply pressure".

In the name of the father and the daughters To fight, in the name of the father. But also on behalf of his two daughters. "It's their story too, he insists. I always told myself that I was going to do what I can so that my daughters do not have to ask questions in twenty years or to resume the fight. I need to give them something from their grandfather . Thierry Lemétayer tried to preserve them from the turmoil caused by this affair. "They still understood quite young that sometimes, senior officials can behave badly and lie in the name of the interest of the nation."

He remembers the tenth and sad anniversary of the sinking of the Bugaled Breizh. That day, the families of the missing were in Brest where the wreck of the trawler was under surveillance by the national navy. The scene takes place at the Cafarelli gate, one of the entrances to the Arsenal, below the Corniche road, from where the silhouette of the trawler can be seen furtively. "We had the authorization to enter and to come and lay flowers near the boat", relates Thierry Lemétayer. One of my daughters asks: 'what happened to the boat?'. My wife. replied: 'ask the gentlemen who are there', pointing to the soldiers who accompanied us. I have never forgotten this moment .

When he goes to Brest, Thierry Lemétayer always takes the Corniche road. "I stick Bugaled Breizh stickers all over the place, he smiles. I take my little tour and take this opportunity to leave a mark. "He does not force the line, not his kind. He wants the truth. "If these people, those who are responsible, are still standing, no way I stop."

He tells, modestly, this father embarked on fishing boats at the age of 13, "to feed his family" . The tides shared with him when he was a kid. Ubiquitous work. And this retreat that the sinking of the Bugaled Breizh stole from him. "He could have stopped before the accident, he was 59 and a half years old. But what do you think he was born in a fish crate, it was hard to stop him ".

Georges was planning to start repairing fishing nets once he returned to dry land for good. "My father," confides Thierry Lemétayer, " is an example of courage for having accepted a life of work like that and so soon, a life the hard way, on the boats". The son wants to honor his promise: to get the truth, nothing but the truth.