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Naval Service Detains Spanish Vessel Involved In Bantry Bay Incident

The Naval Service has detained the Spanish trawler involved in an incident with a Castletownbere trawler in Bantry Bay last Friday.

The LÉ RÓISÍN detained the PUNTA CANDIEIRA approximately 95 Nautical Miles South of Mizen Head for alleged breaches of fishing regulations and is escorting it to Cobh.

The Spanish-registered vessel was at the centre of an incident within the Irish 12-mile limit in Bantry Bay on Friday morning when the Castletownbere trawler, LOURS DES MER, alleged that it attempted to ram the Irish vessel to force it away from fishing grounds.

Castletownbere Skipper Kieran Sheehan said that the Spanish Skipper was “aggressive” and was “doing circles around us.”

The Irish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation described the incident as “dangerous intimidation” and called for the Spanish boat to be arrested.

The Castletownbere trawler has claimed that the Spanish gill-netter vessel was long-line fishing inside the 12-mile limit and cut its gear to get outside the 12-mile limit before the Navy got to the scene.

The Naval Service said it conducted a search of the area but did not find any fishing gear.

The Sea Fisheries Protection Authority said the Spanish vessel was “operating” within the Irish 12-mile limit.

Spanish vessels do not have rights to fish there.

The Naval Service said that they “had to contact a high level of data and positional data analysis” in the case which resulted in the detention.

This is the fifth vessel detained by the Naval Service in 2021.