Devon skipper ignored detention order –

Devon skipper ignored detention order Published:  06 July, 2007


A DEVON fishing vessel owner, Richard Fishleigh, has been fined a total of £3,000 for breaching a detention notice.

Barnstaple Magistratres heard that the Pacemaker (GY 165) is a 15.5 metre wooden fishing vessel based in Bideford, North Devon.

On the March 1, this year,the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) was informed that the Pacemaker had failed a stability survey. The detail and extent of the failure was such that the MCA immediately detained the vessel as dangerously unsafe. The appropriate notice was served on the owner of the FV Pacemaker, Richard Fishleigh. Despite this notice the Pacemaker continued to go to sea to fish on numerous occasions. Mr Fishleigh had been warned not to go to sea.

On investigation, the court heard, it became apparent that the failure of the stability survey was due to a number of unauthorised alterations Richard Fishleigh had made to the vessel without considering the vessel’s buoyancy.

On June 20 2007, and following professional advice, the Pacemaker underwent another stability survey. The results proved to be satisfactory. In order to achieve this result approximately 3.8 tons of top weight or 7.5% of the vessel’s overall weight had been removed. A further inspection was conducted which showed work to improve the vessels freeboard had been carried out. As a result the vessel was released from detention on June 29 .

Richard Fishleigh was fined £3,000 plus £4,000 costs.

In passing sentence the Magistrate made the following points:

* He was fully aware of the situation

* He was fully aware of the MCA’s regulations

* Yet he still sailed

* Lack of urgency to complete rectification work

Mr Paul Coley, Deputy Director of Operations (Survey and Inspections) at the MCA, said:

“Breaching a detention notice is a very serious matter and one that the MCA cannot overlook. A detention notice is only issued after great consideration and where there is an immediate threat to safety. It is not a decision which the MCA takes lightly.

“This matter also highlights the problems that can be created when work is done on a vessel without the proper advice. It does not take much weight in the wrong place to severely affect the stability of a small fishing vessel.” is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.