The MCA are unable to take case against ‘Pesorsa Dos’ in ‘Alison Kay’ incident as it occurred outside their jurisdiction
The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has said that it is not within its jurisdiction to carry out an investigation into the incident where a Spanish-owned German-registered gillnetter attempted to disable a Scottish trawler.
The criminal attack happened in waters 30 nautical miles (55 kilometres) west of the Shetland Islands which means that it is outside the 12 mile jurisdiction of the MCA.
Writing to The Fishing Daily the MCA said “The video recording of this incident is concerning and the consequences could have been extremely serious. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency will take robust action against any vessel within its jurisdiction that endangers themselves or any other vessel.
“This incident took place 30 nautical miles west of the Shetland Isles and was therefore outside of the 12 mile jurisdictional limit in which the MCA can take action against foreign flagged vessels. The investigation is therefore the responsibility of the flag state. The MCA’s Maritime Investigations Team has already sent a letter to the German Maritime Administration (which has been received) to raise its concerns.”
Tensions have been running high between Scottish trawlers and EU fishing vessels for some time now and incidents that were caught on camera by the crew of the ‘Alison Kay’ shows the extreme length gillnetters and longliners are prepared to go to in order to keep hold of fishing grounds.
Scottish fishermen have accused foreign gillnetters and longliners of a ground grab in late April and May when Scottish fish producers agreed with the Scottish Government that members would restrict their activities and accept an ‘eight-day tie-up’ scheme during the height of the COVID-19 lockdown.
During this downtime for Scottish fishing vessels, local fishermen claimed that foreign vessels have moved their static gear, gillnets and longlines onto grounds that were traditionally fished by Scottish boats.
This Scottish White Fish Producers Organisation (SWFPA) condemned the foreign vessels actions by saying “We see foreign static gear vessels gaming the situation by moving into the areas vacated by Scottish vessels.
“Gaming at this time is beyond belief and very wrong.”
On Thursday, 11 June, the crew of the 24 metre ‘Alison Kay’ was operating west of the Shetland Islands when it was confronted by the 28 metre ‘Persorsa Dos’ towing a rope ties to a float which then crossed its bow in an attempt to foul the ‘Alison Kay’s’ propellor and/or steering gear.
The incident has been widely condemned and led the SWFPA and the Shetland Fishermen’s Association to call for an immediate investigation.
It is understood that the German Federal Bureau for Maritime Casualty Investigation decided that it was also outside of its jurisdiction to act and have asked the German police to take action against the owners of the ‘Persorsa Dos’.
The ‘Persorsa Dos’ is registered in Germany through the Lübeck, Schleswig-Holstein based SEAMAR GmbH [Ltd].