Families disagree with drowning probe findings

THE families of two Donegal fishermen who drowned after their small fishing boat sank last November have disagreed with an official investigation’s findings that it was carrying too many crab pots on board at the time of the accident.

A report by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board said carrying up to 60 crab pots on the Jennifer, which sank off Malin Head, Co Donegal, on November 1 last year, would have had “a significant adverse effect on the stability of the boat”.

The MCIB inspectors said the need to stack three or four pots high to fit on the 24-foot vessel would have reduced its ability to right itself in the event of listing. It estimated the total weight of pots and ropes on board the Jennifer at the time was up to 1,096kg, the equivalent of carrying an extra 12-14 people.

The report said gale force winds were reported in the area at the time and it was probable that a combination of wind and wave action caused the vessel to list to an angle where it was unable to prevent overturning.

The boat’s owner and father of six children, Eddie Doherty, 65, and his nephew, Robert McLaughlin, 41, from Glengad, Co Donegal, drowned after the Jennifer capsized and sank.

However, Eddie’s widow, Marian said she disagreed with the conclusions.

“With Eddie’s experience and his regard for safety the load would have been spread evenly over the deck of the boat and therefore this would not have had an adverse affect on the stability of the boat,” she said.

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