Ice supplies fully restored at three Irish ports

The ice plants in Kilmore Quay, Howth and Dunmore East are back in full production, reports Pauric Gallagher.

Although fishermen feared the worst, there was no interruption to the supply of ice to vessels at any of the plants.

BIM (Bord Iascaigh Mhara) had temporarily shut Howth, Kilmore Quay and Dunmore East ice plants following an internal health and safety audit of the facilities which detailed a number of risks to the safety of employees, and notified skippers who used the plants of their temporary closures.

In their latest statement on the issue, BIM said: “Whilst ice production was partially suspended in order to fully assess the risks, ice stocks were always available and fishermen were able to source ice for their trawlers throughout this period.

“Following an extensive review by health and safety experts of all three plants, the most immediate risks outlined in the audit were addressed enabling ice production to resume.

“These primarily pertain to operational issues and the implementation of revised work practices.”

Michael Keatinge, Interim CEO of BIM said: “In each of the three ports, fishermen availed of the service and at no stage were reserve stocks fully depleted.

“There was no interruption whatsoever to the service provided to the industry by BIM. We are unequivocal in our commitment to the safety of employees as well as contractors and acted decisively to address the issues identified in the audit.”

Francis O’Donnell CEO of the Irish Fish Producers Organisation told Fishing News: “at no point was any fishing vessel left short of ice as the plants had at least a week of ice in reserve.

“I had been in close contact with my own members on a daily basis who fish on the east coast and with senior personnel in BIM to resolve the issue.

“I was confident from the outset that this problem would be resolved as quickly as possible as BIM had committed to truck ice from a number of ice plants in the south of Ireland if necessary, until the health and safety issues were resolved. The industry has not been impacted by this temporary closure. There has been a lot of misinformation reported in the media of late; no one was left short of ice.”

“Health and Safety issues are of paramount importance and extend to all areas of business be they private or public.

“Once a safety issue is observed it has to be resolved. That often takes time. BIM has an excellent working relationship with fish producer organisations across Ireland and its staff pulled out all the stops to rectify the problem.”