Hefty charges were handed down to a boat hire director who pleaded guilty to two maritime offences at the City of London Magistrates’ Court

The director of a boat hire company on the River Thames has been fined £6,000 after pleading guilty to two maritime offences at the City of London Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Colin Bullock of River Thames Boat Hire Ltd admitted to using his steam cruise boat Kingwood without a passenger safety certificate or boat master licence before being given a hefty fine.

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He’s been ordered to pay a total of £11,120, £3,000 for each offence, £5,000 costs and £120 victim surcharge.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) became aware of Mr Bullock’s offences following an incident on New Year’s Eve 2013, which saw the Kingwood involved in a stern-to-stern collision while attempting to berth at Greenwich pier.

There were no injuries and only minimal damage was sustained to the boat.

The vessel was due to be used as a party boat for New Year’s celebrations, despite not having a passenger safety certificate.

Online advertising described the trip as a four and a half hour cruise from Greenwich Pier, with tickets costing £140.

A total of 99 people had paid to go on the river cruise but the event had to be cancelled following the incident.

Mr Bullock, who was the boat’s owner and sole operator, was subsequently interviewed by members of the MCA enforcement unit and admitted that during 2013 he had carried out 30 cruises even though he was aware he had no certification.

It also transpired that his boat master licence had expired some two years previously and admitted to having carried out 90 trips without one.

The chairman of the bench said in passing sentence that he was concerned any insurance would have been invalidated during the 90 trips.

MCA area operations manager Andy Rudge said: “To ensure the safety of the travelling public it is important that passenger vessels complete safety surveys and are properly manned with qualified crew at all times.”

Mr Bullock no longer owns the Kingwood.