Rowse Fishing Ltd of Newlyn Cornwall has been ordered to pay a total of £8,170 after being prosecuted by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) for moving a new build fishing vessel without the appropriate load-line certificate.
Mark Rowse, director of Rowse Fishing Ltd, pleaded guilty on behalf of the company, and was fined £3,000 by Truro Magistrates' Court and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £170 and £5,000 towards the cost of the prosecution.
Rowse’s company intended the new build to become a registered 15m fishing vessel. He requested the MCA undertake a load-line exemption survey of the vessel prior to it being moved but went on to arrange the tow of the vessel before it had been surveyed and an exemption certificate had been granted.
The MCA then discovered that that the vessel had been shortened during its build, at the request of Rowse, without new stability calculations being undertaken. The Seafish surveyor who visited the vessel on September 8, had not authorised this change and had stated the vessel was not to be moved until revised stability calculations had been undertaken and defects within the build rectified. Rowse then proceeded to move the vessel from Polruan to Newlyn on September 17 without the appropriate load-line certificate and load-line markings on the hull.
Tony Heslop, survey area operations manager based at the MCA's Plymouth Marine Office, said: "This new vessel had been towed on a sea voyage without the appropriate load-line survey being undertaken. The fundamental aim of such a survey is to ensure the vessel is safe enough to go to sea.
"This was not done in this case, which was aggravated by the fact the structure of the vessel was not in accordance with the original plans. This was a somewhat reckless decision by Mr Rowse that could have had some very serious consequences. The Merchant Shipping Act is there for a reason and cannot be circumvented by those who regard it as an inconvenience."