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Portuguese fishing vessel detained in Irish waters for alleged fishing regulation breach until €150k bond is paid

fish detainedA Portuguese-registered fishing vessel was detained in Irish waters by the Irish Navy Service on Thursday, 22nd of August.

The Lé Samuel Beckett, a Naval Service patrol vessel, detained the Portuguese boat approximately 200 nautical miles south of Fastnet Rock, after an alleged breach of fishing regulations.

In a statement, the service said the Portuguese vessel was being escorted to Castletownbere, County Cork, where it will be handed over to police. The detention is now a police matter.

It is the second detainment by the service this week and the eighth of 2019. On Tuesday of this week, the Navy patrol vessel detained an Irish fishing vessel off Howth.

Sea fishery inspections and detentions form part of the Naval Service’s delivery of government services and its work with the Sea Fishery Protection Authority.

The patrol boats also participate in international missions. Last year, Lé Samuel Beckett was deployed in Mediterranean water, and it was one of several Irish patrol ships to support Operation Sofia, the European mission to help migrants crossing from Africa to the EU.

The skipper of the detained vessel, Jose Ramon Perez Sampedro, appeared before a special sitting of Clonakilty District Court, accused of fishing with passive gear that was not correctly marked 300km off the Irish coast near Fastnet.

It’s alleged that the boat had several tonnes of blue shark on board when it was inspected and that it had been fishing with buoys that were not correctly marked, in breach of European fishing regulations.

Solicitor Conrad Murphy requested an order to indefinitely detain the vessel pending the payment of the €150k bond and also for Mr Perez Sampedro to be sent forward for trial at the next sittings of Cork Circuit Criminal Court, commencing the 30th of October.

Giving evidence, Sergeant Stephen O’Sullivan said he had arrested the defendant at 9.05am on Friday morning and charged him 10 minutes later in relation to the alleged offence. The court heard Mr Perez Sampedro, who is in his 40s, made no reply to the charge.

Mr Perez Sampedro’s solicitor was not present but the judge heard he had been contacted and was satisfied to let the matter proceed.

Mr Murphy revealed that the State wanted to indefinitely detain the vessel until a bond of €153,254 was lodged into an Irish bank account. The court heard that the sum was established by combining the maximum fine on conviction of €80,000 with the value of the catch on board, estimated at €43,254, and the value of the gear on board, estimated at €25,000.

Judge John King was told that Mr Perez Sampedro’s solicitor was in the process of organising a bond, while through an interpreter the defendant said it was a family business with one boat and that he earned approximately €2,500 a month.

Judge King granted the order, and given there was no objection to bail ordered that Mr Perez Sampedro enter a bail bond of €750, no cash required, to appear before Cork Circuit Criminal Court later this year.