Coveney and Varadkar launch new Marine Safety Strategy

The government has announced the first ever national maritime safety strategy today.

The cross departmental agency will see a new safety initiative for the Irish Fishing Industry which the government says is about closing any gaps in services and preventing accidents at sea.

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar, with responsibility for maritime safety regulation and emergency response, and Minister for Agriculture Food and Marine, Simon Coveney, with responsibility for the fishing industry, jointly launched the cross departmental, cross agency scheme in Union Hall in Cork this afternoon.

The initiative is supported by both Departments and their respective agencies and includes the provision of a new enhanced Safety Equipment Grant Aid Scheme operated by BIM which allows for the purchase of personal locator beacons, auto pilot alarms and wireless engine cut offs.

It will see a revised fishing vessel code of practice to be tougher and amended to take account of recent tragedies and will also see the establishment of a high level working group on safety in the Irish fishing industry.

A new enhanced safety training course run by BIM on a five year cycle will also be established.

Minister Simon Coveney says the initiative aims to improving safety in the countries fishing fleet. It is about learning from past tragedies, and saving lives in the future.