"The operation of a vessel at night without navigation lights is not only illegal but is a foolhardy and dangerous act. It not only placed his own vessel in danger but those operating around him too."
The owner of a fishing vessel has been sentenced to a total of 12 months for fishing safety offences and a three-month suspended sentence for fisheries offences activated.
Shane Barton, aged 42, was sentenced by Plymouth Crown Court on Friday, 17 February, after pleading guilty to a number of offences under maritime safety laws.
Barton is the owner and skipper of the Nicky Noo, which was registered in the UK.
On several occasions between 22 May 2014 and 20 October 2016 in Christchurch, Dorset, Fowey, Cornwall and Castlebridge, Devon respectively, Barton was subject to enforcement action from various fisheries agencies and police.
Information supplied about various incidents that happened between 22 May 2014 and 13 February 2016 showed that Barton was operating without navigation lights, safety equipment and properly trained skipper and crew.
On 16 October 2016, the safety certification for the Nicky Noo expired but the vessel was seen operating by a local Fisheries Officer four days later and the vessel was reported to the Maritime & Coastguard Agency.
In passing sentence, HHJ Lawrie said Barton was complacent and arrogant, that his failings were deliberate and he had cut corners. HHJ Lawrie added Barton had a cavalier attitude to the safety of the crew and the vessel.
Barton pleaded guilty to three charges of the unsafe operation of a fishing vessel and one charge of breaching a Prohibition Notice requiring him to have completed the required safety training.
He was sentenced to a total of 15 months of which half will be served in prison.
The MCA investigation was greatly assisted by the following agencies: Southern IFCA, Devon & Severn IFCA, Cornwall IFCA, Marine Management Organisation, Environment Agency, Dorset Police and Devon & Cornwall Police.
Tony Heslop, area operations manager for the south west with the Maritime & Coastguard Agency said: ‘The operation of a vessel at night without navigation lights is not only illegal but is a foolhardy and dangerous act. It not only placed his own vessel in danger but those operating around him too.
‘This case shows that agencies operation in the maritime world can and do work together to improve safety at sea. I would like to thank all the agencies involved in this case for their help and assistance in bring this matter to a successful conclusion.’
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