Boat gang strikes in dead of night
Independent fishermen are being forced to the wall by organised gangs of robbers who have stolen millions of Euros worth of maritime equipment.
The thieves again struck in Dun Laoghaire Harbour last Tuesday, where they are believed to have used a boat to ransack and steal equipment from three fishing vessels and a small angling craft.
It follows near identical raid on boats in Courtown Harbour in Co Wexford three weeks ago. Boat owners around the country have been increasing their security and stowing away expensive outboard engines. But the gangs, believed to be Eastern European, are now targeting commercial fishing boats for expensive navigation and emergency equipment.
On Tuesday morning a gang stripped the fishing boat, JBC, belonging to fisherman Mack Daly, of thousands of Euros worth of vital equipment in Dun Laoghaire, leaving him unable to go to sea and earn a living.
The gang smashed their way through the steering room door and ripped out equipment, leaving torn and cut cables and the boat completely disabled.
"They totally destroyed it in here," Mr Daly told the Sunday Independent. "There's a good six or seven thousand Euro worth of equipment taken but the damage is total. I can't even start her. There's a burning smell and I can't go to sea. I don't know if the insurance will cover it. We reckon they (thieves) came in by sea."
The equipment stolen from Mr Daly's boat includes a JRC FF50 echo sounder, a Valsat GPS, a Cetrek chartnav and autopilot, a Furumo D GPS, ICOM VHF radio, JRC sounder, Koden radar, an ACR EPIRB (emergency alert system) and another portable ICOM VHF radio.
Tim Foley, whose boat Centurion, was tied up alongside the JBC at the Coal Harbour in Dun Laoghaire, had a Yanmar 6.5kva generator worth around €1,200 stolen. Two other boats, another commercial fishing boat and a small day-angling boat owned by local men were also targeted in the raid.