Kathleen & May carrying too many passengers

The owner of a classic sailing schooner has been heavily fined for carrying too many passengers. Stephen Clarke pleaded guilty to two charges brought under maritime safety legislation at Plymouth Magistrate’s Court and was fined £6000 and ordered to pay £4000.

His schooner, the West Country-built Kathleen and May, once owned by the Maritime Trust, is a well known visitor to the Barbican in Plymouth and is permitted to carry up to a maximum of 24 people, including a maximum of 12 passengers.

On 1 July 2009 the vessel departed Plymouth for a short cruise to Dartmouth. On arrival, the Kathleen and May was boarded by an MCA surveyor who subjected the vessel to a General Inspection, which included an examination of the logbooks and certificates. It was noted that on occasions the vessel had carried more passengers than permitted.
Investigations also showed that on 1July 2009, the Kathleen and May had sailed on a voyage without providing sufficient liferaft capacity and a lifejacket for each person on board the vessel. They also showed that between 17 June 2009 and 3 July 2009, the vessel had carried more than the permitted twelve (12) passengers on at least three occasions.
Mr Clarke pleaded to breaches of the Merchant Shipping (Life-Saving Appliances for Passenger Ships of Classes III to VI(A)) Regulations 1999 and the Merchant Shipping (Survey and Certification) Regulations 1995.

In passing sentence the Magistrates stated that in arriving at their decision they had taken into account Mr Clarkes early guilty plea and previous good character.

Mr Tony Heslop, Area Operation Manager (Survey & Inspection) South West Area of the MCA stated; Everybody expects that there are sufficient lifejackets and liferaft spaces for all passengers and crew when sailing on a ship. This is a basic safety requirement which is enshrined in maritime safety legislation covering passenger vessels.