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Dublin: 18°C Monday 21 June 2021

Wicklow widow suing 'those with an interest in' fishing boat after husband drowned without life jacket

Fisherman Lenny Hughes drowned after falling from the Arklow-based boat Kerri Heather in November 2016.

KH1 The Kerri Heather Source: MCIB

THE WIDOW OF a Wicklow fisherman is suing those involved with the fishing vessel off which he drowned two years ago.

Brigid Hughes has taken an admiralty case, as of 13 July, against ‘all persons claiming an interest in’ the fishing vessel Kerri Heather, based out of Arklow, Co Wicklow.

Her husband, Leonard (49), better known as Lenny, an experienced fisherman, drowned after falling from the boat while hauling bait pots off the Wicklow coastline on the morning of Wednesday, 16 November, 2016.

The Kerri Heather had been at sea for just over an hour at the time of the incident.

The precise nature of the lawsuit is not currently known, nor which defendants are intended by the broad nature of the claim.

The owner of the boat was not present on board on the day that Hughes lost his life.

Solicitors for Brigid Hughes, Arklow-based O’Sullivan Hogan, did not return a request to speak with them. No solicitor is currently in place for the defendants.

The Kerri Heather, a then 45-year-old fishing boat, was not Hughes’ regular berth – it was his first time to sail on her.


Ordinarily a crewmember on another Arklow fishing vessel, Hughes was present on board that morning as a substitute for a regular crewmember along with two others – the vessel’s skipper, a fisherman with 12 years’ experience, and an unidentified Polish man, who had only four days’ experience.

The subsequent investigation by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) determined that none of the three on board were wearing lifejackets at the time of the incident.

The (MCIB) investigation report into the tragedy, published in February of this year, determined that the alarm was raised at 9.20am that morning, 17 minutes after Hughes first fell overboard.

In that time, the skipper had attempted to rescue Hughes by diving into the water and reaching for him, but to no avail.

Upon climbing back aboard ship, the skipper pressed the distress button on the vessel’s radio, whereupon the Marine Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Dublin took control of the situation.

Searches continued for the missing man for a further 15 days until 2 December with no success.

Hughes’ body was eventually recovered off the coast of Wales on 11 January 2017.

Comments are closed as the case is before the courts

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