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Fisherman meets officials on Shell standoff

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fisherman meets officials on Shell standoff

ÁINE RYANTHE NORTH Mayo fisherman involved in a standoff with Shell EP Ireland over his rights to continue fishing in Broadhaven bay met Department of Transport officials yesterday to complain about Shell contracted vessels.

Crab fisherman, Pat O’Donnell claims his fishing licence has precedence over the rights of Shell contracted sub-sea vessels.

Over recent weeks, a number of Shell vessels have been preparing the pipeline route, ahead of the arrival of pipe-laying vessel the Solitaire, presently berthed in Killybegs.

In a letter sent last week to the chief surveyor’s office and copied to Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey, Mr O’Donnell’s solicitor stated that the Garda Water Unit failed to come to his client’s assistance on August 21st last, after the skipper of the Highland Navigator used marine notices to threaten him to give way.

As a result there have been claims and counter-claims of near collisions.

“The Marine Notice cites Section 38 of the Maritime Safety Act (2005) which refers to ‘a person without reasonable excuse’ failing to comply with a direction. Well surely, since I have a license and have been fishing here for nearly 30 years and depend on this for my family’s livelihood, I have a reasonable excuse,” said Mr O’Donnell yesterday.

He said also that he employs people locally at his fish factory and, moreover, buys crab from other craft in the area.

“I have the law on my side and will watch over my fishing gear for as long as it takes,” said Mr O’Donnell.

© 2008 The Irish Times

This article appears in the print edition of the Irish Times

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