The Gaffney family have launched a new website to highlight the injustices suffered by them since the purchase of the Mary Kate WD 30
Former fishing vessel skipper and boat owner CJ Gaffney and his family have launched a new website to highlight the injustices suffered by them since the purchase of the beam trawler Mary Kate WD 30.
The website called ‘The Story of Irish Fishing Boat, the Mary Kate and the Gaffney family’ is as CJ calls it, a family’s last S.O.S in their fight for justice.
In 2007, the family bought the Dutch designed and built beam trawler, they later named Mary Kate WD 30. The website tells the story of how the Mary Kate had been operating as the German-registered Evert Jan SC 30 at the time it was purchased by the Irish family. The boats machinery was in class with Germanischer Lloyd and under German registry up to the time of purchase. The Stability Book was stamped and signed by Germanischer Lloyd and the German Marine Survey Office, and an in-date Sailing Certificate was issued by the German Ship Safety Division every two years. The stability book was updated and translated by the original design company. The vessel was surveyed twice by a Dutch survey company before purchase and was bought through a leading Dutch Ship broker. In addition, the necessary due diligence which was applicable at the time of purchase in 2007. All of the above paperwork was accepted by the Irish Marine Survey Office and Irish Authorities.
Immediately after the first fishing trial CJ began having niggling concerns over the handling of the boat.
“In 2009 we consulted a naval architect with concerns regarding the stability of the boat. On two separate occasions the vessel had faltered and almost capsized. Had it not been for our expertise and innate knowledge of boats, three men would have drowned,” says CJ.
Subsequently, four Incline Tests were carried out. All Incline Tests and hull measurements revealed the same results; 20 tons of steel, in this 23.93M beam trawler, could not be accounted for. The result highlighted the gross disparity between the Mary Kate’s actual stability levels and those stated in the original approved Stability Book. As it turned out, the Mary Kate was an accident waiting to happen.
“We notified the Irish Marine Survey office of this major stability fault,” but little did the Gaffney family realise at the time that over the next twelve years they would find themselves fighting for their livelihoods, their homes and most of all, for justice, as the Dutch, German and even their own authorities and government in Ireland slammed shut every door they knocked on.
An Arklow family with a proud maritime heritage of fishing and volunteering for the RNLI, read the Gaffney family story by here.