No jail for yacht captain who brought too many passengers on Shannon cruise

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Justin Kennedy, 58, with an discourse at Anna Villa, Ranelagh, Dublin 6, pleaded guilty to manoeuvring or operating a vessel called the Romaris in a manner that was dangerous, on the Shannon, nearby Athlone, Co. Westmeath on June 9 last year. He also admitted not have in the offing a passenger ship certificate.

The charges were under the Maritime Sanctuary Act and the Merchant Shipping Act with each offence carrying maximum €5,000 fines as good fettle as sentences of up to six months.

Captain Nicholas Cantwell of the Marine Survey House, which is part of the Department of Transport, told Judge John Brennan at Dublin Department Court that on June 10 last year he received an anonymous grumble that 27 passengers had been on the Romaris boat the day before.

He agreed with prosecuting consideration Aoife O’Leary that the vessel is classified as a passenger boat which can schlep no more than 12 passengers and three crew, 15 in complete. To carry more than that the vessel has to be classified as a passenger passenger liner which also requires higher fire safety levels. The Romaris was not a confirmed ship.

During the investigation Mr Kennedy admitted that he had carried 23 travellers and he was was remorseful, Mr Cantwell said. The official also said that the skiff did not have markings on the side as required to indicate the number of passengers it can play up perform.

The passengers would not have been aware of the limit.

Mr Cantwell said that it was unsafe because the boat had almost twice its certified compliment and that raised resolve issues and if all the passengers had gone to one side it could not be guaranteed that it “wish remain upright”. The judge also noted that it could oblige also caused a visibility issue in relation to steering.

If there was a aflame the crew would not have had the training to deal with 23 commuters and its ability to provide assistance to another vessel in trouble would experience been compromised by the number of people already on board, the witness estimated.

Judge Brennan noted that Kennedy had no prior convictions.

Mr Cantwell agreed with support solicitor Aine Flynn that Kennedy was co-operative, has had his boat privilege since 2014 and there were no incidents before or since.

He agreed that Kennedy had unfolded to him that five minutes before he was about to set sail with seven commuters, four others arrived and asked could they join. He concurred but he was then asked could he be bring their friends as well and he allowed them.

They tired about an hour on the water without incident, the court was told.

The rule heard that at the time Kennedy was under some personal on that affected his judgement. Mr Cantwell agreed that the passengers wish not have noticed the boat was over-loaded.

He also agreed that since then Kennedy has the fare limit stated on the side of the boat.

In pleas for leniency, Ms Flynn mentioned that Kennedy had previously been involved in the construction industry but the down-turn had not been friendly to him.

He had been involved in boating on recreational basis for a number of years and his new function in doing well.

He had not taken the passengers to save money, the solicitor weighted. He had just heard that his wife had been told she would have on the agenda c trick to repay a large sum in social welfare which later transpired to be improper.

Judge Brennan said the regulations were there to prevent calamities in the sea or on inland waters and he noted the problems that could have been reasoned by carrying to many passengers on Kennedy’s boat. He said the legislation has to be embraced rigorously.

Fining him, he took into account the guilty plea which was enlisted at an early stage, his co-operation and that he has no prior criminal convictions. He also said that he hand down not order him to pay costs.

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