Defence tells trial Dingle-based vessel fully complied with regulations by licensing authority

A court has heard that a vessel at the centre of a health and safety case fully compiled with regulations by the licensing authority.

Dingle-based company Iasc Geal Teoranta has entered not guilty pleas to three charges of breaching the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act arising from an alleged accident on one of its fishing trawlers in which a crewman drowned.

Tralee Circuit Court heard the Cu na Mara is an Irish-registered vessel operating out of Dingle; the almost 25-metre-long trawler was fishing for prawns in rough Atlantic conditions on June 30th 2016.

When the ship is about to engage in trawling a procedure called stepping up occurs where a crewman must work at height and unclip the nets from drums and clip them onto ropes attached to the winch.

Prosecution barrister Tom Rice said it was this operation Portuguese national Jose Alberto Nova Vareiro  was involved in when he was caused to fall into the water at the back of the boat.

Mr Rice said the prosecution will claim the company failed to manage this stepping up process in a manner outlined in a risk assessment it had prepared.

He said the safety harness was contained in the risk assessment but Mr Vareiro wasn’t wearing one nor was one provided.

Defence barrister John O’Sullivan said the issue in the case is if the employer has acted in so far as is reasonably practicable; he told the court the vessel fully complied with regulations of the licencing authority and a record of equipment has no requirement to have a safety harness onboard.

The case continues.