Saturday 19 October 2019

'Erratically' zigzagging boat delayed cruise ship entering port, court told

Brian Stacey. Picture: Collins
Brian Stacey. Picture: Collins
Ronan Stephens. Photo: Collins

Tom Tuite

A four thousand tonne cruise ship was delayed entering Dublin Port by a small sailing boat "erratically" zigzagging in its path, a trial has heard.

Dublin Fire Brigade and RNLI lifeboats were called out to deal with the incident on the Liffey at Dublin Port that began at about 6am on June 1, 2017.

A court heard yesterday that the sailors of a small 26-foot pleasure craft refused to get out of the shipping lane.

One of them allegedly told a lifeboat skipper that it was "their God-given right to go up and down this river as Dubliners".

The incident started after the small boat left its mooring at a south Dublin sailing club. After a couple of hours, the sailing boat, which also had an outboard engine, was brought to a halt at Sir John Rogerson's Quay.

CCTV evidence showed one man being helped on to the quays, where he removed his clothing.

The boat owner and yacht club member Brian Stacey (46) of Derry Drive, Crumlin, and co-defendant Ronan Stephens (42), from Captain's Road, also in Crumlin, face charges under the Maritime Safety Act and the Public Order Act in connection with the alleged incident.

They have pleaded not guilty and have gone on trial before Judge John Hughes at Dublin District Court, where two hours of CCTV footage was viewed yesterday.

Dublin Port harbour-master Michael McKenna told the court that entry of the Corinthian, a 90-metre cruise ship weighing 4,000 tonnes, was delayed by the movement of the sailing boat in the shipping lane.

Mark McGibney, skipper of the RNLI all-weather lifeboat Anna Livia, told the trial he was on one of two lifeboats operating in Dún Laoghaire after a car had driven off the end of the quay into the water at about 5.30am.

He said that they approached the sailboat and their warnings to the people on board were met with profanities and one replied that it was "their God-given right to go up and down this river as Dubliners".

The trial continues on June 18.

Irish Independent

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