Dáil Éireann - Volume 613 - 01 February, 2006
Written Answers. - Marine Accidents.
Mr. Broughan Mr. Broughan
143. Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport if, during the recent disaster of the sinking of the Rising Sun off the Wexford coast and the subsequent rescue operation, which resulted in the tragic deaths of fishermen and a diver, representations were made to remove the temporary exclusion zone around the ship during the rescue operation; if so, the reason this lifting of the temporary exclusion zone was permitted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3136/06]
Mr. Cullen Mr. Cullen
Mr. Cullen: At the outset I wish to extend my sympathies to the families of those who tragically lost their lives as a result of the sinking of the Rising Sun fishing vessel.
An investigator from the Marine Casualty Investigation Board, MCIB, commenced an investigation into the incident on Wednesday, 30 November 2005. To facilitate that inquiry and in view of health and safety concerns arising particularly as a result of oil pollution emanating from the sunken vessel, the Coast Guard informed all parties, including shipping, fishing and local diving clubs, not to visit the site. When the MCIB investigator indicated on 1 December 2005 that  he did not require an exclusion zone to be maintained around the sunken vessel for the purposes of his investigation, the temporary exclusion direction was lifted. The pollution threat had also receded by that time.
Local diving interests indicated to the Coast Guard that they wanted to dive on the site. However, although the exclusion direction was lifted, the Coast Guard, in consultation with the Navy, requested all divers in the area not to dive on the vessel in view of the dangerous site conditions, water depths, undercurrents and poor weather conditions.
In responding to marine emergencies the Coast Guard generally welcomes the assistance of local people, particularly in search and recovery operations. However, in every situation the Coast Guard expects such volunteers to operate under its guidance and instructions, which are provided by the Coast Guard on-scene incident co-ordinator.
The request not to dive was ignored and tragically a local diver died that day. The cause of his death is not yet known. When it became clear that the request would continue to be ignored, particularly over the weekend when sports divers from around the country announced that they planned to dive on the site, it was decided to issue a formal notice on Friday, 2 December re-establishing an exclusion zone.
Dáil Éireann 613 Written Answers. Marine Accidents.