Monday 16 September 2019

Sunken trawlers cost state €1.6m

SALVATION and storage costs for the trawlers Maggie B and Pere Charles have cost the state over €1.6m to date with no sign of any criminal prosecutions resulting from their inspections.

Charges have been ruled out in relation to the now scrapped Pere Charles, which sank in 2007, while investigations are ongoing in relation to the Maggie B which went down the previous year.

Duncormick's Patrick Coady (27) was one of five fishermen lost when the Pere Charles sank around two and a half miles south of Hook Head on January 10, 2007, while skipper Glen Cott (30) and crewman Jan Sankowski (45) drowned when the Kilmore Quay-based trawler Maggie B foundered off Hook Head on March 30, 2006.

The storage of both boats at Arklow Harbour has been a source of controversy in recent times.

The Irish Coastguard had declined to comment on costs surrounding the operations but the Sunday Tribune said last weekend last hat raising the two boats from the seabed alone cost over €1m.

Storage of the vessels in the Arklow have cost €205,000, while the leasing of other boats for salvage and search operations cost nearly €200,000.

The recent scrapping of the Pere Charles cost more than €33,000. In total, the bill to date is €1,629,588.

The coastguard, which is acting on instructions from the DPP, has refused to clarify any timeframe for the disposal of the Maggie B, saying only that it continued 'to oversee its storage'.

All of the costs associated with the wrecks will be met by the Dept of Transport through the Irish Coastguard.

Both vessels had been brought to Arklow in order to 'facilitate investigations' by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) regarding the cause of sinking.

Following this, Gardaí prepared files on both cases and submitted them to the DPP.

Both of the boats remained on dry dock and could not be touched until such time as the DPP gave directions.

Last month Gardai confirmed that the DPP had directed that no prosecutions take place in relation to the Pere Charles. The Maggie B case remains open.

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