FINES totalling €5,000 were handed out to three men and a fishing company for a number of maritime offences, after a court heard that a crew member was made to swim from one boat to another, after being injured.
The prosecution was taken by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, at a recent sitting of Bandon District Court.
Fishing Trawlers NI Ltd of Suite 5, Ormeau House, 91/97 Ormeau Rd, Belfast, pleaded guilty to not having required quantities of medicines and medical equipment on board its vessel Maracestina when it arrived in Castletownbere on May 13th 2017.
Pat Price, C/o Rockabill Seafood Ltd, Stephenstown Industrial Estate, Ballybriggan, Co Dublin, as owner of the John B, pleaded guilty to failing to enter a fishing boat agreement with Arturs Luska on May 11th 2017.
His brother, David Price, of the same address, and as owner of John B, also pleaded guilty to failing to enter a fishing boat’s agreement with Arturs Luska on May 11th 2017.
As master of another boat, Maracestina, on May 13th 2017, David Price also pleaded guilty to not having the required quantities of medicines and medical equipment on board the fishing vessel.
Darren O’Sullivan, also of the same address, and as skipper of John B on May 11th 2017, pleaded guilty to not entering a fishing boat’s agreement with Arturs Luska.
Eoghan O’Toole, marine surveyor from the Department of Transport, told the court that on May 12th 2017 a man contacted him about safety issues on a ship where he had got injured.
‘He claimed he was not treated properly and had been put into the water and swapped to another boat,’ said Mr O’Toole.
‘The injured party was a Ghanaian national who, after being injured due to an oil leak, was put in a lifejacket a few days later, and made enter the water and onto another boat – John B. They landed him in Castletownbere and he got a bus to Cork to go to hospital.’
Mr Toole said that he later inspected the Maracestina at Dinish Pier and noted some medical equipment had expired, and on the John B he found no record in the log book of the transfer of Mr Luska and his name was not on the agreement.
Paula McCarthy, barrister for the four defendants, said that after Mr O’ Toole boarded both boats, both men were co-operative and they gave him access to the log books. Ms McCarthy said that the records were later sent onto to Mr O’Toole.
Ms McCarthy said this is a family business and that Darren O’Sullivan is an employee.
‘In relation to two medical items missing, this was rectified within 48 hours and also it was an administration oversight regarding the signing of an agreement, but there was an overall agreement,’ said Ms McCarthy.
‘They accept culpability and rectified any matters once it became apparent and they met this fairly and three of them have no previous convictions,’ she added.
While acknowledging that it’s a ‘tough life’ for those at sea, Judge James McNulty said ‘that those who employ others have obligations, and it’s a serious matter.’
He convicted and fined Fishing Trawlers NI Ltd €2,000. He fined Patrick Price €1,000, David Price was fined €1,000 and Darren O’Sullivan was fined €1,000. All fines were later paid in court.