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Modern technology should be used to ensure safety at sea - Cullinane

25 October, 2012 - by David Cullinane TD

Senator David Cullinane has called on the government to take steps to ensure that all persons on commercial fishing vessels carry a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB).

The Waterford senator was speaking during the course of an adjournment motion this evening where he called on the Minister for Transport make PLBs mandatory and to consider removing VAT from the devices.

“We have had numerous tragedies at sea in recent years, such as the Tit Bonhomme, and the Honey Dew II. These tragic losses of life left a deep scar on the communities affected and on the heart broken families left behind.”

“Clearly, it must be our priority to ensure as best as possible that we do not see a repeat of these situations and to ensure that those on commercial fishing vessels are as safe as possible. An obvious way of doing that is to ensure that those on board are wearing Personal Locator Beacons.”

“These beacons can locate people who have gone overboard to a high degree of accuracy. The first few hours after someone has gone overboard are crucial in finding them alive or in finding them at all.”

“I believe that the government should make it mandatory for those on board such vessels to carry a PLB. Given that it is already mandatory under the Fishing Vessel (Personal Flotation Devices) Regulations (2001) to wear a lifejacket, surely this is possible, and I welcome that the Minister is stating that this is what is under consideration.”

“However, the government should also make efforts to ensure that it is as easy as possible for fishing crews to obtain these devices. I believe that the Government should consider, given that these are a key lifesaving technology, that the VAT on these items should be removed so as to incentivize the buying of such devices, and that Grant Aid also be considered.”

“Clearly anything that can save lives needs to be considered, but it is also worth noting the significant expense of safety and recovery operations. If these measures were taken, significant amounts could be saved, and tragedies avoided. “

“Therefore it is welcome that the government is considering legislation on this matter, and I would call on them to bring it forward as soon as is possible.”

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