Cockroach-infested trawler detained

A persistent and widespread cockroach infestation, poor living conditions, and issues with crew entitlements are alleged to be among the problems discovered on a fishing vessel detained in West Cork.

The British-registered vessel is mainly crewed by Indonesian fisherman. It was towed into Castletownbere after it “broke down” last Wednesday, according to local harbourmaster Cormac McGinley.

The trawler was subjected to an inspection by the Marine Survey Office which decided to detain the vessel in the Beara peninsula port last Friday.

A number of issues are understood to have been detected onboard, particularly around the conditions for, and entitlements of, crew members.

Pest control teams spent two days onboard attempting to deal with the persistent cockroach infestation which is believed to be evident in large parts of the ship. 

The crew remained onboard, as of yesterday, in the department of marine-run state fishery harbour.

While the Marine Survey Office would not detail the exact reasons for the detention, a spokesman did issue a statement, stating “the follow-up action is for the owner and the UK as the flag state for the vessel to rectify and ensure the rectification of the deficiencies”.

“When it is rectified we will then re-inspect the vessel,” he added.

Pat Dolby, head of the inspections with the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency, said it was aware of the issues which had been identified by Irish authorities and hoped to have one of its officials on location as soon as possible to examine the issues raised.

The Indonesian embassy has also been notified of an issue with the vessel, on which its nationals are working. Ken Fleming of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) questioned why his organisation had not been contacted about the issues with the vessel.

“The fact that the vessel is there since last week makes it clear that, despite all of the comments from people in the industry and how concerned they are, no contact has been made with the ITF from any government department,” said Mr Fleming.

“This attitude of excluding worker representative bodies is the bedrock and cause of the continued abuse of migrant workers within the fishing industry.

“The very fact that the state agencies have not made arrangements for alternative accommodation rather than leave the crew in such conditions is an indictment of those agencies.”

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