SFPA and Navy Called On to Take Action Over Ramming Incident in South West
The Sea Fisheries Protection Authority and the Naval Service have been asked to take action to protect Irish fishermen after what is alleged to be intimidation during an apparent attempted ramming of an Irish trawler by a foreign fishing vessel on the South Coast this morning.
It is reported to have happened within the 12-mile limit.
The incident was filmed by the crew of the Irish trawler and shows the other vessel coming dangerously close to the Irish boat.
The Irish skipper can be heard radio-ing the other vessel and telling them to ‘stay away from us’ as the foreign trawler – believed to be Spanish – is getting increasingly close.
The CEO of the Irish South and West Fish Producers, Patrick Murphy, called SFPA Chair Susan Steel to take immediate action.
The incident was reported to European fisheries control.
The incident happened two days after fishermen staged a demonstration in Cork protesting at the dominant quotas held by non-Irish EU vessels in Irish waters
"Now this an attempt to force Irish boats off our own grounds. It is clear intimidation. Our authorities must take action against this vessel acting extremely dangerously at sea and endangering life,' Patrick Murphy told the MARINE TIMES. 'It is appalling. Gardai act on land when life is threatened. This was a threat to life at sea so action must be taken against the vessel which tried to do the ramming.
"The boat should be arrested and stopped from fishing in Irish waters."
The incident presents a challenge to Irish authorities to show their enforcement of regulations in Irish waters.
The MARINE TIMES has asked the SFPA what action it will take - their response was:
"The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority are aware of a situation that arose this morning when a Spanish registered vessel was encountered by an Irish-registered vessel operating within the waters of Bantry Bay and therefore within the IRL 12 nautical mile limit.
"The situation continues to be closely monitored by the National Fisheries Monitoring Centre at the Naval Base, Haulbowline."
The MARINE TIMES have questioned the SFPA further on this response; 'Monitoring' what because the incident ended. Is the alleged offender being pursued. Will action be taken against the vessel? There is an allegation of intimidation and dangerous action at sea. Is this being investigated in a manner similar to an investigation of a land bound incident if reported to Gardai .... we await a reply.