THE skipper of a trawler which sank off the coast off West Cork over two years ago, has been convicted and fined €2,000 for not holding a certificate of competency while in charge of the Ellie Adhamh.
Julian (Miley) Halligan of No 2 Cluain Carraigheach, Eyeries pleaded guilty at Bantry District Court on Thursday to the charge, as well as failing to give crew member Mohamed Admed Elbahlawan a copy of the records of work or rest for February 2021.
R&E Fish Ltd with an address at Westwinds, Furziestown, Tacumshane, Wexford, which is the owner of Ellie Adhamh, pleaded guilty to setting sail from Castletownbere Fishery Harbour Centre on March 13th, 2021 without a person holding a certificate of competency.
The company also pleaded guilty to a charge that on the same date it had set sail with crew member Mohamed Admed Elbahlawan, who had not undergone basic safety training.
The Wexford-based trawler, with seven crew members on board, sank two miles north of Bull Rock at the entrance to Kenmare Bay, on March 27th 2021. The crew were airlifted by the Irish Coast Guard’s helicopter, Rescue 117.
The prosecutions were undertaken by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.
Judge James McNulty was told that no lives were lost during the incident.
Solicitor Dermot Conway told the court that his client Mr Halligan had completed all his exams and studies to get his cert of competency, but due to Covid he was unable to complete a year probation on another vessel.
Mr Conway added that the rest hours of the crew were actually recorded but he had failed to give them within seven days and they were in the galley of the vessel.
He said that Mohamed Admed Elbahlawan told Mr Halligan that he had undergone basic training but he should not have been allowed on board until the company knew it was done.
The court heard that the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) has produced a draft report into the sinking of the vessel, but it has not been published yet.
Mr Conway said his client, who lives with his partner and has two children, now has a full cert of competency and had been very worried about the impending prosecution.
‘In relation to R&E Fish Ltd, the sinking of the vessel ended two generations of a family involved in the fishing industry in Ireland and the vessel was not recovered,’ said Mr Conway,
He said both had no previous convictions and asked the court to be as lenient as possible.
Judge McNulty convicted and fined Mr Halligan €2,000 for not holding a certificate of competency and took into consideration the charge in relation to the timesheets.
The judge convicted and fined R&E Fish Ltd €2,000 for setting sail without a person holding a certificate of competency and another €2,000 for setting sail with crew member Mohamed Ahmed Elbahlawan, who had not undergone basic safety training.
All fines were paid into court on the day.