The salvage operation on the FV Jubilee off the Canterbury coast has been scrapped due to bad weather, with a dive operation underway instead to film the wreckage.
The divers will also recover items of interest rather than bring the vessel to the surface as previously planned.
The 90 tonne fishing vessel has been lying in 45 metres of water, 22 kilometres off the coast after sinking in October last year. An inquiry is continuing after the three men on board lost their lives.
Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) chief investigator Captain Tim Burfoot says two attempts had been made to move the Jubilee and the boat was now two kilometres closer to the coast and in slightly shallower water.
"Unfortunately the weather patterns have deteriorated so rather than face the risk of the Jubilee being stuck in shallow water in bad weather, we have decided to send the salvage divers down," he says.
The divers began working at the site yesterday and the diving is safer and easier in the shallower water. They had been in constant touch with the surface team during their dives allowing the Commission investigators on board the support craft to provide directions.
The dive operation is expected to finish today or tomorrow depending on the weather.
Captain Burfoot says evidence gathered from the site will be valuable and would be assessed further by the TAIC back in Wellington.
The final report into the accident isn't expected to be completed until October.