A man was fined after pleading guilty to 2 offenses following a joint investigation by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency Regulatory Compliance Investigation Team and Hampshire Police today ( Thursday).

Sean Gower, 40, of Newlyn Way, Port Solent, who appeared in the Isle of Wight Magistrates’ Court, was the captain of a 6.5 meter long RIB vessel which was almost directly involved in a collision with a Red Funnel passenger ferry, Red Osprey, in the main fairway of the Medina River on Saturday September 12 of last year.

Mr Gower was fined £ 2,000 with full court costs awarded to the MCA (£ 3,953) and an additional surcharge of £ 190 bringing the total amount payable to 6,143 £.

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Mr Gower, along with 3 of his ship’s mates – none of whom were wearing life jackets – left Cowes Yacht Haven, Isle of Wight, and were shown on the Red Osprey’s CCTV camera as having exceeded the speed limit from the port at 6 knots before overtaking and turning sharply across the bow of the ferry bound for Southampton.

The dangerous maneuver, which was said to have taken place just 8 meters from the ferry’s bow, forced the captain of the Red Osprey to back up and also caused a temporary loss of maneuverability and consciousness. The RIB continued its journey at full speed, towards Portsmouth, despite the presence of other small boats in the Solent at the time.

This incident resulted in a joint MCA and Hampshire Police investigation, during which Mr Gower was identified as the driver of the RIB and was subsequently questioned, admitting that he had no prior knowledge of the “Rule of the road” and confirmed that he had carried out the maneuver.

CCTV from the ferry operator and further statements from the crew of the Red Osprey added that Mr Gower’s actions put the ferry and other surrounding vessels at risk.

Mr. Gower pleaded guilty to 2 offenses. He was found under section 58 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 to have committed an act which could have caused the loss or destruction or serious damage to a ship or structure; or death or serious injury to any person.

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He was also found guilty of obstructing the safe navigation of the Red Osprey in the inland channel, which is contrary to rule 9 of the International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea 1972, as well as regulations 4 and 6 of the Merchant Shipping (Distress Signals and Prevention of Collisions) Regulations 1996 and Articles 85 and 86 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995.

Mark Cam, lead investigator for the MCA Regulatory Compliance Investigation Team, said:

“This result demonstrates that the MCA will always take the appropriate and necessary action when a complete lack of compliance and disregard for the laws of the sea is demonstrated, compromising not only safety but, ultimately, the lives of many. people. We want to send a clear message that such infractions are not acceptable and those who do not want to follow rules and regulations and improve safety standards will face the full weight of the law. “

Hampshire Police Maritime Support Unit PC Mark Arnold said:

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“Gower showed a shocking lack of respect for his own safety and that of those around him when he decided to break the speed limit and perform this maneuver.

“Not only did he put himself and his passengers at risk of serious injury or death, but he endangered the safety of those on board the ferry, which was forced to take evasive action to avoid a collision.

“Gower had very limited knowledge of how to operate a boat when he left that day, and this incident shows how important it is to know and follow the rules when picking up a boat. ship.

“We continue to do a lot of work on Operation Wavebreaker to prevent anti-social behavior on our waters, but this incident goes way beyond and we thank the Maritime and Coastguard Agency for bringing this matter to court. .

“We hope this reminds you to be responsible while on the water this summer, especially if you are around larger vessels.”

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