One of the controversial trawlers in Irish maritime history was arrested off Tory Island yesterday after suspected breaches of fishing regulations.
The Dutch-registered Annelies Ilena, formerly called the Atlantic Dawn, was detained just after 11am by the LE Roisín in what the Naval Service described as a “significant detention”.
The trawler was built by the late Kevin McHugh in 2000, but it is now registered in Holland.
When it was commissioned, the then taoiseach Bertie Ahern and fisheries minister Frank Fahey had to intervene to ensure Mr McHugh’s super-trawler got a special European licence to fish in African waters.
This was because Ireland was already over quota and the Atlantic Dawn could haul in 300 tonnes a day on its own.
The vessel is more than 144m long and runs as a fishing and freezing factory. Following its arrest by the navy it was escorted back to Killybegs where it got to shore in the company of the pilot tug, the Trojan, just after 9.15pm.
The boat, which was last docked in the Dutch port of Ijmuiden, was the 922nd boarded by officers this year and the 13th to be detained.
It is the largest trawler ever to be detained and was the biggest ever built in Ireland.
Mr McHugh had embarked on building the €95m floating factory before it had a licence to operate it.
It was handed over to gardaí after it arrived in Killybegs.
When it was arrested it was 100 nautical miles north-west of Tory Island and in Irish territorial waters.
This area is monitored by the Naval Service and the Air Corps to enforce the European fishing regulations.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved