The French trawler Marantha II safely tied-up in Honfleur after being denied access to Le Havre during Storm Eunice. Photo: Sophie Leroy
French fishing vessel owner Sophie Leroy is angry over the actions of Haropa Port Authority who denied her fishing vessel shelter in 70 knot winds during Storm Eunice.
The Maranatha II was seeking to enter the port of Le Havre for shelter at around noon on Friday 18 last, as the wind and waves smashed through the English Channel, but Haropa Port Authority, who oversees the ports of Le Havre, Rouen and Paris, said they were unable to accommodate the trawler.
Sophie Leroy, head of Armament Cherbourgeois (based in Cherbourg), took to social media to vent her frustrations at the action of the port authority saying:
“The port of Havre has just denied access to the trawler Maranatha despite the intervention of the Cross Jobourg to keep the sailors and the boat safe. It is unacceptable to leave a crew at sea with 70 wind knots.
“The port authority should be penalised for this refusal.”
The explanation given by the port authority: no more space, whereas shortly before, Dutch and German fishing boats had been able to enter the port.
Later in the day Sophie Leroy informed that the Maranatha II had reached safety:
“The boat is in Honfleur.
“Thank you to the Cross Jobourg for doing what is necessary.
“The maritime prefecture responded that the winds did not allow the ship to enter and there was a lack of space.
“A complaint will be filed at the maritime gendarmerie (maritime police) on Monday.”
Dimitri Rogoff, Regional Committee President for Fisheries of Normandy weighed in saying, “Today the Maranatha of Cherbourg could not enter Le Havre to take shelter. It is safe in Honfleur. Despite my intervention with the Amiral Dutrieux, Prefet Maritime, whom I thank for his reactivity, the port of Havre refused entry to this boat for “technical reasons”.
“Explanations will be provided,” he said.
The explanation Haropa gave was:
“This Friday, February 18th around 1pm, the trawler MARANATHA II made a request to enter the port of Havre to disembark his fishing. At the time of demand, the weather conditions (high winds and high tide) did not allow the unloading of the goods in optimal safety conditions for the crew and the ship.
“HAROPA PORT also has the port of Honfleur in its port area, it has been decided – in agreement with the boss of the roadway – to direct it to that destination.
“Ensuring, safe, the entry or exit of a ship and its crew into our ports is a priority.”
The action of the port authority has been met was criticism right across the fishing community as it is believed that no boat and its crew should be denied shelter in a storm.
Cross Jobourg is the Central Channel Regional Operational Centres for Monitoring and Rescue.