Master fined over high-speed collision risking ‘multiple fatalities’

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The master of a wind farm passenger transfer vessel has been fined and ordered to pay costs worth nearly £10,000 after a high-speed collision off the east coast which experts say could have caused “multiple fatalities”.

Michael Gallagher was in charge when the workboat catamaran Windcat 9, with 15 people on board, hit a large floating military target in Donna Nook air weapons range off the coast near Grimsby in November two years ago.

At the time of the collision, the vessel was estimated by officials to be travelling at around 23 knots (26 mph).

Its hull was badly damaged, causing extensive flooding, but there were no injuries.

An investigation by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency found Mr Gallagher was not keeping a proper look-out and had incorrectly set his electronic navigation equipment.

He yesterday pleaded at Southampton Magistrates’ Court to breach of Section 58 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995.

He was fined £1,500 and told to pay £8,082 in costs, plus a victim surcharge of £120.

Gwen Lancaster, surveyor in charge at Hull Maritime & Coastguard Agency Marine Office, said: “Mr Gallagher should have kept a proper look-out at all times using all available means and be competent in using all his electronic navigational equipment.

“Luckily no one was hurt, but there could have been multiple fatalities as a result of this high-speed collision.”

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