Friday, 6 May 2011


At a hearing today at Torquay Magistrates the owner/skipper of a fishing vessel pleaded guilty to two charges under safety legislation.  He was fined £10,000 for both charges which was reduced to £7,000 for his early guilty plea plus costs of £4,858.31p.
The UK registered fishing vessel Angelena (SM 271) is an 11.82m beam trawler which operates from the port of Brixham with a crew of two.  On the 23rd September 2010 the Angelena was returning to harbour. Ian Hurford, owner and skipper of the Angelena was alone in the wheelhouse at the time of the incident.   The weather had deteriorated previously so after the last haul the catch had been left in the cod end for the start of the trip back to Brixham.  Once the vessel was inside Berry head the sea calmed down and Mr Hurford called out the crewman to sort, clean and gut the catch.  When the crewman had completed this he climbed back up on deck from the fish hold.  As he was getting his bearings the Angelena hit the breakwater at full speed.  The grounding was observed by a member of the public who informed the Coastguard. Mr Hurford got the Angelena off the rocks and proceeded into Brixham harbour for examination. When interviewed Mr Hurford admitted he had fallen asleep after several days of long working hours.
In passing sentence the Magistrates said:
You are an experienced fisherman, you have been on a recent watchkeeping course, you showed a woeful lack of competence, you were at a busy harbour entrance. It is lucky that no one was hurt or injured, it was dangerous to the extreme. This is a serious matter.
Mr Nigel Blazeby, Principal Fishing Vessel Surveyor, Western Region of the MCA stated: “This is another incident occurring on the return of a fishing vessel to harbour.  A major factor in this incident was the lack of adequate rest over a period of several days which led to fatigue. This incident should remind everyone in the fishing industry of the need to ensure they take sufficient rest periods when working and that the trip is not over until the boat is safely tied up.