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The owner of the ill-fated Greymouth fishing vessel The Governor, which sank off Milford Sound claiming the lives of its captain and crewman, is resigned to never knowing the cause of the disaster.
Skipper Kevin Cosgrove, 60, of Dobson, and crew member Nirvana Reynolds, 16, of Blackball, were reported missing when it was realised the boat had disappeared while trawling in Fiordland on September 15.
As Mr Cosgrove failed to make a mayday call or activate an emergency beacon, his friends in the fishing industry were convinced he had been on deck when the boat flipped, throwing both men into the water.
However, there was a slim hope the bodies might still be trapped inside the vessel. Those hopes were dashed early this week when police and navy divers explored and filmed the wreckage but found no trace of the men.
The wreckage was initially discovered by a remote underwater vessel equipped with a camera, about 2.5km from Yates Point, but undercurrents had shifted the vessel about 200m south when the dive squads again located it this week.
Consistently bad weather delayed diving to the wreck for six weeks but this week's dive was carried out in clear conditions and divers were able to use camera equipment that provided good views of the inside and outside of the sunken vessel.
Owner John Brown said the second visit to the wreck had shed no more light on what had happened to the boat.
"They said that its condition had changed and it was starting to break up so we will never know what happened ... it will be a mystery forever."
The search has now officially been called off.
Mr Brown said he was grateful to the police for out-waiting the elements until they could get down to the boat.
"It gives everybody, the families and friends in the fishing industry closure. We know for sure that there's nothing down there now, so we can let go."
- By Tui Bromley of the Greymouth Star