Vessel owner guilty of overloading

Posted: 11/24/2011 in all marine news

Maritime Journal –

The owner of a UK merchant vessel has pleaded guilty to overloading passengers on voyages between the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland.

The Princess 55 motor yacht Sarah May III, certified under the Code of Practice for the Safety of Small Commercial Vessels, was licensed to carry no more than 12 passengers and three crew at a time.

But on 6 June 2008, the vessel was caught on CCTV in both Strangford and Peel carrying more than 20 passengers across the Irish Sea.

At the hearing, which took place at Downpatrick Magistrates Court recently, the owner Grahame Stronge pleaded guilty of failing to comply with certification regulations and was fined £800.

The MCA say that this is a prudent warning to all commercial and leisure operators over the risk of carrying more passengers than a vessel is certified and equipped to carry.

An MCA spokesperson said: “There is a more education focused approach towards the leisure industry rather than legislative, but in terms of safety, all vessels whether leisure or commercial oriented should take passenger overloading seriously”.

Passenger overloading has popped up more than once in the MCA prosecutions list this year.

In May, the schooner Kathleen and May was prosecuted for carrying more than 12 passengers on at least three occasions. The owner was fined £6,000 plus costs of £4,000.

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