HMS Severn Nets French Trawler


A French fishing vessel discovered by a Royal Navy patrol ship to be overfishing hake and using irregular nets has been fined £13,600 in fines and costs.

While patrolling along the West Coast, in an area known as the Trouser Leg, HMS Severn made a routine boarding of the Bara Brenn which was fishing in seas about 160nm south west of Lands End.

The boarding team – Gunnery officer Lieutenant Charles Frampton, Petty Officer Lee Edwards and Engineering Technician Richard Hallett – made a detailed inspection of the vessel’s logbook and the catch in her hold, quickly discovering a significant difference between the amount of hake recorded and that which had been caught.

The Bara Brenn had also been fishing in a Hake Recovery Area where stocks are already dangerously low, and on inspection, irregularities were found with both nets.

Following consultation with the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), the decision was made to detain the Bara Brenn alongside for further investigation by the Ship’s Inspection Team with the local MMO office in Newlyn.

A steaming party was sent across, which involved seven of the Ship’s Company over a 24 hour period, to act as a point of contact for the Master of the vessel, Eric Stephan, and to ensure they complied fully as HMS Severn escorted her into Newlyn.

At Truro magistrates court, the owner of Bara Brenn, Armement Bigouden SA and Eric Stephan admitted three counts of failing to keep an accurate logbook, a twine net thickness offence and the incorrect use of a strengthening bag.

The vessel had failed to record an extra 225kg of hake and further quantities of greater forkbeard, black scabbard fish and blue ling.

Commanding Officer of HMS Severn, Lieutenant Commander Catherine Jordan said:

“The detention of the fishing vessel was the result of a thorough and professional inspection conducted by the Royal Navy inspection team onboard, coupled with good liaison with the Marine Management Headquarters.”

“Detaining the vessel from over 150 miles out from Lands End to Newlyn in the strong southerly winds and inclement weather last weekend also provided several challenges, which the team from HMS Severn rose to well.”

“This is my last patrol in command of HMS Severn and I am very proud to have been part of the Fishery Protection Squadron and leave having watched the team working so professionally one last time.”

ET Richard Hallett had joined the boarding team as part of his training to be an Assistant Boarding Officer (ABO). Of his first ever boarding, he said:

“I normally maintain the weapons and communication systems onboard and saw the boarding teams going off day and night, doing real jobs, so I volunteered to be an ABO – I didn’t think it would be a detention on my first one.”

So far in 2011, HMS Severn has conducted 231 boardings, of which 103 have resulted in the detection of infringements of EU or UK law.

In 2010 the ship had to detain seven fishing vessels into port for further investigation and this is her first to be detained in 2011.

The Fisheries Protection Squadron (FPS) is primarily tasked with enforcing EU and UK Fisheries Legislation on behalf of the UK’s Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

The ships of the squadron conduct surveillance and boardings to ensure that fishermen meet the requirements of the Common Fisheries Policy and UK fishing and environmental legislation in UK Fishing Limits, and across EU waters in conjunction with vessels and personnel of the Fishery Protection squadrons of other member states.

The Squadron also carries a role of contributing to the maritime security of the UK and Falkland Islands, and assists in rescues and other assistance to vessels in UK waters.
Source: Royalnavy, June 24, 2011;