The skipper was fined £2,500 for failing to keep a proper lookout before the collision off Northern Ireland

A skipper has been charged over a collision off Northern Ireland in September last year after failing to keep a proper lookout.

Lindsay Haugh was fined £2,500 plus costs of £231 after pleading guilty to the charge during a hearing in the County Court Division of South Down on Monday.

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The 44-year-old was at the helm of fishing vessel Onward N336 when it collided with the Clipper Pennant, a Seatruck Ferries vessel at anchor off Carlingford Lough in Northern Ireland.

The incident happened at midnight while the boat was returning from fishing grounds in thick fog.

Mr Haugh, from Killkeel, pleaded guilty to unlawful conduct endangering ships, structures or individuals off Carlingford Lough, contrary to section 58 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 after failing to monitor VHF channels, view radar in reduced visibility and keep a proper lookout.

In passing sentence, district judge King said: “Haugh fully accepted his responsibility and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

“Sea collisions are a serious responsibility. You as captain at sea are responsible for the boat, the crew and other persons at sea.

“This is a serious matter and thankfully there was no serious damage or loss of life.

Maritime and Coastguard Agency consultant surveyor David Carlisle said: “This was a serious avoidable incident. Mr Haugh did not keep an effective watch in what was serious reduced visibility, nor did he observe the warning signals sounded from the Clipper Pennant.”