Mr Gerardus Chapel received a nine-month sentence, reduced to six, after pleading guilty after the fatal dredger collision

A Dutch helmsman received a suspended sentence on Thursday following a fatal dredger collision that saw one sailor killed in June last year.

Mr Gerardus Chapel, who pleaded guilty to conduct endangering ships, structures or individuals under the section 58 of the Merchant Shipping act 1995, was given nine months, reduced to six, which has been suspended for 18 months.

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The sentencing comes eight months after the 5,000 tonne dredger Shoreway collided with a Moody 31 at the entrance of the River Orwell in Suffolk, killing yachtswoman Bernadine Ingram.

Mr Chapel failed to spot Orca as his ship headed out to sea and cut a large hole in the vessel’s starboard side, causing it to sink immediately.

Peter Ingram and the couple’s two dogs were also on board the boat but only Mr Ingram and one of their pets managed to swim to the surface.

Mrs Ingram and their other dog were caught inside the wreckage of the yacht and drowned.

Divers recovered the 57-year-old’s body the following day, along with their dog.

When interviewed by MCA enforcement officers, Mr Chapel admitted that he just did not see the yacht, even though it was clearly visible and on radar.

In passing sentence at Ipswich Crown Court, Judge Devaux said: “Chapel accepted responsibility, co-operated and pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity.

“However, his failure to keep a proper watch caused Mrs Ingram’s death.”