Skipper fined £12,800 for colliding with pier –

Skipper fined £12,800 for colliding with pier Published:  09 August, 2012


At a hearing in at Southend Magistrates Court, on Wednesday August 8 2012, John William Smith, the skipper of the Fishing Vessel ‘Paul Patrick’, pleaded guilty to one charge under maritime safety legislation.  He was fined £3,000 plus costs of £9,888.28 He was given 14 days to pay.

The ‘Paul Patrick’ (H11031) is a UK registered 9.6m fishing vessel which operates from the port of Leigh-on-Sea.  Shortly after 7:05am on the 17th February 2012 the Paul Patrick collided with Southend-on-Sea Pier.

CCTV in operation on the pier recorded the incident.  The CCTV captured the final moments of the Paul Patrick hitting the pier at more than five knots.  Three people on the vessel were seen to run from the stern towards the bow immediately after the collision.  The ‘Paul Patrick’ was stuck hard and fast to the pier and as several members of the public watched, the crew used angle grinders to release the vessel.  At the time of the collision the tide was at its highest.

 At a later date the skipper of the ‘Paul Patrick’, Mr John William Smith was interviewed by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency Enforcement Branch.  Mr Smith admitted that he had failed to keep a proper lookout as he was checking his catch from the last trawl.

In passing sentence the Magistrates said: “We do not find this to be a momentary lapse of concentration. You are an experienced skipper but we take into account your early guilt plea.”

Mike Greenwood of the MCA Marine Office at Orpington said:  “Southend Pier is the longest pleasure pier in the world being one and half miles long.  In its 200 year history there have been several recorded collisions causing substantial damage.   This incident should remind crews of all vessels that they need to ensure a proper lookout is maintained at all times.

“I would like to thank Southend-on-Sea Council for their help and co-operation in this matter.”