Dun Laoghaire senator calls for inquiry into ‘Mary Kate’ safety concerns
Independent Senator Victor Boyhan has lent his support to a skipper’s battle for redress following the purchase of a fishing trawler that proved dangerously unstable, according to The Fishing Daily.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, CJ Gaffney and his father bought the beam trawler Mary Kate in the Netherlands in 2007.
The ship was certified safe by German authorities, but after a number of close calls where Gaffney says he ‘nearly rolled over’, it was discovered that 20 tonnes of unaccounted steel was in the hull .
The Gaffney family later chose to lengthen the vessel for safety reasons and it received a Marine Survey Office Stability Certificate in 2009.
But repair work has prevented the family from affording a new fishing license for the Mary Kate, and a potential UK sale has been blocked by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
Additionally, the family attempted legal action against a number of parties, including the German Maritime Safety Authority, but jurisdiction could not be established.
The boat has since been sold by Gaffneys’ lenders and the family are left with an outstanding €2m loan.
A number of politicians have raised Gaffney’s plight in both the European Parliament and the Dáil.
And Senator Boyhan, a former Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Councilor, is the latest to throw his support behind the Arklow fishing family – calling on Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to have his department carry out a full investigation into the matter.
“No words can describe the nightmare the family went through. They lost their boat, their fishing license, their fishing quota, their family investment,” he says.
“They have lost their livelihood and respectability within the fishing community, they also feel they have lost their reputation and proud maritime heritage spanning five generations of their family. They are financially ruined.
The Fishing Daily has more on the story HERE.