Skipper of Ramsgate fishing boat ordered to pay over £11,500 after admitting licence breaches

The Skerry Belle

The skipper of a 14-metre day angling boat that operates out of Ramsgate has been fined £4,500, plus more than £7,000 costs, after pleading guilty to offences which breach the small commercial vessel code of practice.

The prosecution was brought by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency against Roger Lennon who was fined at Canterbury Magistrates Court yesterday (16 January).

Mr Lennon is the owner skipper of the vessel Skerry Belle.

Investigations by the MCA last year, revealed Mr Lennon was operating the vessel on a commercial basis, taking members of the public out to sea on fishing trips, without having a commercially endorsed skippers’ certificate. The vessel was also operated on occasions during the hours of darkness, although the vessel did not possess the necessary certification to operate at night.

Mr Lennon pleaded guilty to not having a commercially endorsed skippers licence (expired) and running night trips in a vessel that was only certificated for daylight use.

The magistrates in sentencing, said that failing to have the required certification whilst carrying out a business in the English Channel, one of the busiest waterways in the world, was very serious.’

Christopher D’Alcorn, the MCA principal surveyor for the area said: “The safety of vessels going to sea and those on board are paramount and this applies to small commercial vessels.

“Such vessels out at sea during night hours are required to have additional equipment which has been inspected by a surveyor and the vessel certificated as fit for purpose. To operate a commercial vessel whilst not properly coded is to take unnecessary risk with people’s lives, is not acceptable and will result in prosecution.”

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