Pasquale Miccio was sentenced to prison after admitting he was responsible for the death of teenage fisherman Daniel McNeil.

Italian sailor Pasquale Miccio, who admitted caused the death of a teenage fisherman off the Scottish coast, has been jailed for eight months.

Miccio, 49, was in charge of the MV Scottish Viking ferry when it collided with the fishing boat Homeland five miles off the coast of St Abbs, in Eyemouth, in August 2010.

Daniel McNeil, 16, from Tynemouth, died in the accident. His brother, Joseph, who was the skipper of the Homeland, survived.

Miccio pleaded guilty to a breach of section 58 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 as amended, on 24 March in the High Court of Justiciary, Glasgow. He admitted failing to change the course or speed of the MV Scottish Viking to avoid the collision which cost the teenage fisherman his life.

At the time of the incident on 5 August, 2010, the MV Scottish Viking was on a regular service between Rosyth in Scotland and Zeebrugge in Belgium.

Miccio was the navigating officer when the Scottish Viking sailed from Rosyth at around 4.30pm.

At around 6.10pm, the lookout reported seeing fishing vessels ahead and to starboard and Miccio made a small alteration of course. The lookout continued to point out the proximity of the fishing vessels and at 6.35pm, a further slight alteration of course was made. Despite these warnings, Miccio made no further alterations off course or speed.

Daniel McNeil was working onboard the Homeland during his holidays. The crew of the fishing vessel, which is owned by the McNeil family,  sailed from Eyemouth along with other vessels of the local fishing fleet at around 6pm.

Daniel’s brother Joseph McNeil was working on the deck mending a net when, about 30 minutes later, he heard a warning blast from a nearby boat, the Achieve, and heard the skipper calling to him on the VHF.

He went forward and looked out of his wheelhouse to see the Scottish Viking just seconds before it struck. He and his brother managed to clamber onto the wheelhouse roof but the boat went down very quickly.

The Serene y Don – another local boat – threw Joseph a life ring and pulled him to safety but Daniel could not be found.

In the High Court in Edinburgh on 25 April, the judge, his Lordship Lord Bannatyne, said that the day had been a dreadful tragedy in that Daniel McNeil had lost his life and his family their son and brother.

‘It is impossible to place a value on his life and it is not the purpose of this court to do so,’ he added.

He told Miccio that as the officer in charge of a large vessel, he was responsible for the failures and omissions and had failed to take actions that would have prevented the death of the teenage fisherman

Sentencing Miccio to 12 months in prison, reduced to eight months, the judge said he had taken into account mitigation that there were other contributory factors to the incident and that Miccio had no previous accidents.

Speaking after the sentence, Captain Bill Bennett, surveyor in charge for the Maritime  and Coastguard Agency said that the case highlighted the need to maintain a proper lookout.

He added it also reinforced the need for every vessel to use all available means to determine if a risk of collision exists and to take early positive action to avoid that collision.