RCMP reject chance to ease pain and sorrow

The six men on board the Chief William Saulis. Top row, from left: Captain Charles Roberts, Aaron Cogswell, Dan Forbes. Botton row, from left: Eugene Francis, Michael Drake, Leonard Gabriel


And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
- Dylan Thomas -


What the fuck is wrong with the RCMP? Why can they not understand? Why do they want to prolong the pain and torment of families who have lost loved ones? Why do we let them belittle the lives of working folks so much? Why do we allow bureaucrats to confine and constrict our most human instincts: the simple desire to bring some crumb of solace to the wives and children of husbands and fathers snatched from them by cruel seas.

Six men died December 15 when the Chief William Saulis, a scallop dragger fishing out of Digby, Nova Scotia, was lost at sea. The body of one of the men has been found. The five others are still missing.

Since the 45-foot boat went down so fast in 15-ft waves—without even sending out an SOS call—most everyone along the Digby shore believes the five missing men remain trapped in the vessel at the bottom of the sea. Confirming that would ease some of the pain of the loss suffered by five devastated families. The RCMP couldn’t care less.

Their “ownership” of the investigation into the tragedy comes before everything else. Their need to appear as  the “be all and end all” always tops their list of priorities. The needs of mourning loved ones don’t matter—or even register.

Thanks, but no thanks

The force has refused an offer of help from Kraken Robotics, a leading ocean technology company in Atlantic Canada.

Kraken Robotics offered to deploy its ultra-high-resolution sonar system in the effort to find the Chief William Saulis.

“We just wanted to help. And that’s what’s confounding us,” said Karl Kenny, CEO and president of Kraken Robotics.

Kenny said the company was not looking to be compensated for the work. The RCMP said thanks, but no thanks to the offer.

Lori Phillips just can’t understand why.

Lori’s son, Aaron Cogswell, went down with the Chief William Saulis. She knows he is gone. She also knows having her son’s body found will help her deal with that fact. She knows the families of all the other missing fishermen—Leonard Gabriel, Daniel Forbes, Eugene Francis and the boat’s captain, Charles Roberts—feel the same.

“I want my son home. I want to have something that I could go to,” she said in a telephone interview.

“I need his body, I need closure and to talk to him.”

Debris found

On December 29 the RCMP say they had located debris that may belong to the missing scallop dragger.

Police say they searched about 100 kilometres of coastline from Digby Gut to Harbourville by helicopter and found debris “consistent” with a section of the upper portion of the Chief William Saulis.

The force continues to follow its own procedures and protocols to determine whether the debris is from the lost fishing boat. It remains confident outside help is not an option they need to consider.

They may be right. But whether or not they are doesn’t matter to the five families with loved ones lost at sea. All that matters to those families is to have their lost ones found—not who gets to claim the credit for doing it.

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