The 33-year-old skipper pleaded guilty to breaching maritime safety legislation on Monday

A Dorset fisherman has been ordered to pay £1,550 after pleading guilty to breaching maritime safety legislation at Weymouth Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

Luke Copperthwaite repeatedly ignored communications from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) after a surveyor found several defects with his vessel, including structural problems with the wheelhouse and a lack of safety training and radio certificates

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Although some of the issues were subsequently cleared, Mr Copperthwaite failed to notify the MCA.

After the vessel’s inspection certificate expired, attempts to contact the 33-year-old received no response.

Eventually a prohibition notice was issued stopping the Freya May from sailing as a commercial fishing vessel, but this was also ignored, before the matter was passed to the MCA enforcement unit for further action.

Mr Copperthwaite was finally interviewed in October 2013 when he admitted that he had not completed the required courses and that the boat was now out of the water as he was working ashore.

Despite his assurances, the Freya May was later seen working at sea with Mr Copperthwaite on several occasions and he continued to ignore communications from the MCA.

The Dorset fisherman pleaded guilty to breaching the terms of a prohibition notice, failing to comply with the under 10m code of practice and allowing his fishing numbers to become unreadable.

A fine of £500, costs of £1,000 and a victim impact surcharge of £50 were awarded against him.

In passing sentence, the chairman of the bench stated: “Mr Copperthwaite bought this matter down on his own head.”

Meanwhile MCA area operations manager Amir Esmiley said: “Prohibition notices are issued to ensure safety at sea and stop unsafe acts. They should not be ignored in the hope they will go away.”