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More than $200K raised for families of fishermen lost aboard the Chief William Saulis

(Top L to R) Aaron Cogswell, Charles Roberts, Daniel Forbes, Geno Francis, Leonard Gabriel and Michael Drake were the crew onboard the Chief William Saulis, a scallop dragger that is believed to have sunk while operating off the coast of Nova Scotia. Facebook, Background photo courtesy of Katherine Bickford

More than $200,000 have been raised to provide monetary donations to the families of the fishers who went missing off the coast of Delaps Cove, N.S., according to Full Bay Scallop Association and Yarmouth Sea Products.

The association set up ‘The Chief William Saulis Benevolent Fund Trust’ in December of last year with funds raised through a GoFundMe page and contributions from the vessel owners and other members of the association following the tragic incident.

READ MORE: ‘Our hearts are broken’: Acadia First Nation reacts to tragic accident on board vessel

The RCMP said in January that the wreckage of the Chief William Saulis, currently lying more than 60 metres underwater two kilometres off Delaps Cove, is too far beneath the surface for divers to investigate safely.

The boat sank in the early hours of Dec. 15 with a crew of six on-board. Just over a month later, on Jan. 16, video images of the boat emerged from a remotely operated underwater vehicle, or ROV.

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The body of crew member Michael Drake was found not far from Digby, N.S., shortly after the ship foundered, but Aaron Cogswell, Leonard Gabriel, Dan Forbes, Geno Francis and captain Charles Roberts are still missing.

Click to play video 'Digby, NS residents apprehensive as search continues for missing scallop boat' Digby, NS residents apprehensive as search continues for missing scallop boat
Digby, NS residents apprehensive as search continues for missing scallop boat – Dec 16, 2020

“We again wish to express sincere condolences to the families of the fishermen,” said the association in a press release.

The trust account has been set up at the Coastal Financial Credit union.

The association said that contributions can be made to the account at any branch of the credit union, and will cover the following expenses:

• Funeral expenses incurred beyond the benefits provided by Worker’s Compensation and the Canada Pension Act.
• Any legal services required to obtain the designation of a person legally authorized to represent the estates of the deceased fishermen.
• Remaining funds will be distributed to the estates of the deceased in a fair and equitable fashion.

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READ MORE: Full Bay Scallop Association accepting donations to help families of missing fishermen

“We know that family members wish to understand what happened aboard the Chief William Saulis. As owners of the vessel, Yarmouth Sea Products will continue (to co-operate with the investigation),” said the Full Bay Scallop Association.

Since the RCMP had officially called off its efforts to recover the vessel in January, a spokesperson for the RCMP, Mark Skinner, said there’s not much to update in regards to the case as of late.

“I can tell you that the RCMP will continue to provide the families with support and updates, and be available on an ongoing basis to the Transportation Safety Board and Labour and Advanced Education investigators.”