A German-registered Spanish vessel which was involved in a confrontation off Shetland in 2020 has been detained for alleged fisheries offences in Irish waters, reports Lorna Siggins.

The 26m Pesorsa Dos was detained off the Irish southwest coast on 21 January by the Irish Naval Service patrol ship LÉ George Bernard Shaw.

It took several days to haul its gear before it could be escorted into Castletownbere, Co Cork where it berthed on 26 January.

An Irish Naval Service spokeswoman confirmed that a German-registered vessel had been escorted to port, but could not confirm where the detention occurred, beyond stating it was ‘within the Irish exclusive economic zone’.

The gill-netter Pesorsa Dos being boarded by Irish Naval Service personnel in July 2020, when it was detained in the Irish EEZ just a month after its confrontation in Shetland waters with the trawler Alison Kay LK 57. (Photo: Irish Naval Service)

Ireland’s Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) said the vessel had been handed over to the Irish police, and that SFPA officers were ‘assisting them with expert technical support’.

At a special sitting of Bandon District Court, West Cork on 28 January, Juan Pablo Ducal Rubido, skipper of the vessel and with an address in A Coruña, Spain, was charged with 12 offences relating to alleged illegal fishing activities in Irish waters on various dates in January this year.

One of the charges related to failing to facilitate the safe and effective boarding of Pesorsa Dos by Irish fishery protection officials, as the boarding ladder broke while it was being used by officials.

Acting state solicitor for West Cork Jerry Healy applied to have the Pesorsa Dos detained at Castletownbere until a bond for €245,000 to cover the cost of the catch, gear, potential fines and legal costs was lodged with the court by boat’s owners.

Defence solicitor Dermot Conway formally applied for bail, which Judge Colm Roberts granted on Mr Rubido’s own bond of €5,000.

The Pesorsa Dos was previously detained in the Irish EEZ, 250 miles north of Donegal’s Malin Head, in July 2020.

A month before that, in June 2020, the Spanish-owned vessel was accused of attempting to foul the propellor of Shetland demersal trawler Alison Kay some 30 miles west of Shetland, by towing a heavy warp across its track.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said it could not investigate the incident as it occurred outside the 12nm limit. It confirmed that the MCA’s Maritime Investigations Team had sent a letter to the German Maritime Administration to ‘raise its concerns’.

It was subsequently reported that the German Federal Bureau for Maritime Casualty Investigation had ruled that the incident was also outside of its jurisdiction, and had referred the matter to the German police.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here


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