Charges over passenger boat near Skelligs

Prosecutions have been taken on behalf of the minister for transport, tourism and sport against three boatmen, alleged to have breached passenger boat regulations near the Skelligs in Kerry.

The islands, a popular attraction for tourists, include the Unesco world heritage site of Skellig Michael.

Gary Feehan, of Dungeagan, Ballinskelligs, the owner of the vessel Pace Arrow 11, was before Caherciveen District Court in relation to using the vessel as a passenger boat without a licence.

The charge sheet stated he was “in the waters near the Skelligs” on May 21, 2014, contrary to the Merchant Shipping and Maritime Safety Acts.

A second charge against him relates to the seaworthiness of the vessel, The Pace Arrow 11, having regard to the nature of the service for which she was intended.

The charge stated on the date, it went to sea it “in such an unseaworthy state” the life of a person was “likely to be or was endangered”, contrary to Section 20 of the Maritime Safety Act, the summons alleges.

A second man, Sean Feehan, also known as John Paul Feehan or Sean Feehan Sr, of Dungeagan, Ballinskelligs, “being the person in command or in charge of Pace Arrow 11” on the date, faces the same charges — operating a vessel as a passenger boat without a licence and it being in an unseaworthy state.

Solicitor for the pair, Padraig O’Connell, said his clients would be pleading not guilty.

He also said there was a question of jurisdiction. State solicitor Aidan Judge, on behalf of the minister, agreed to an adjournment to facilitate disclosure of documents.

Judge James O’Connor adjourned the question of jurisdiction to November and ordered that all documents be furnished to Mr O’Connell and his clients.

Separately, Michael J O’Connell of Doora, Portmagee, is charged with being the master of a licensed vessel, The Jerdamar, on August 12, 2013, in the waters between Ballinskelligs and the Skellig Islands, and that he failed to comply with the requirement on the passenger limit for the vessel, contrary to Section 15 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1992.

Solicitor, John O’Dwyer said his client would be entering a plea, and State solicitor Ed O’Sullivan asked the plea be registered. Judge O’Connor adjourned the cases to the Novem- ber sitting.


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