Irish Ships and Shipping
2011 WAS THE TWENTY YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE TRAGEDY OF THE M.V.KILKENNY WHICH SANK IN
DUBLIN BAY AFTER A COLLISION WITH THE M.V.HASSELWERDER ON THE NIGHT OF 21
3 SEAMEN LOST THEIR LIVES THAT NIGHT:
"There are no flowers on a wave, no roses on a seaman's grave"
Click here for a survivors account from Austin Gill, A.B. M.V.Kilkenny.
KILKENNY WAS A LOLO CONTAINER SHIP RUNNING TO ROTTERDAM AND ANTWERP FROM DUBLIN.
SHE WAS ONLY HALF AN HOUR OFF HER BERTH WHEN THE COLLISION OCCURRED, AND DESPITE THE EFFORTS OF THE RESCUE SERVICES 3 MEN LOST THEIR LIVES.
Photos from Robbie Cox
Dublin Bay 22nd Nov 1991
Photos from Robbie Cox
Dublin Bay salvage operation
Photos from Robbie Cox
THE FULL CREW LIST WAS:
MARCUS CALVERT-CHIEF ENGINEER
KEITH MARRY-DECK BOY
MARK WOODWARD-GALLEY BOY
|THE M.V.KILKENNY MEMORIAL AT IRISH FERRIES HEAD OFFICE DUBLIN PORT|
Statement from B+I Killenny Statment.doc
Click here for transcript of Dail Debate on the Collision
The following video is Colm's Fynes tribute to them.>>>
MV Kilkenny April 1986.avi
Photos from Charles Geary
|frank Mullins, Kilkenny loses blade ,vlaardigen dry-dock 1987||Paul Smyth on kilkenny|
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Seanad Éireann - Volume 131 -
Adjournment Matter. -
Mr. Haughey: I thank the Cathaoirleach
for allowing me raise this matter on the Adjournment. I congratulate Deputy
 Woods, on his appointment as Minister for the Marine and wish him every
success. He will be aware that
The matter I now raise relates to the
On the following day the then Minister
for the Marine ordered an inquiry under section 465 of the Merchant Shipping
Act, 1894, into the causes of the casualties and collision. I call on the
Minister for the Marine tonight to ensure in due course full disclosure of the
details of this inquiry. I appreciate that the Minister informed Dáil Éireann on
There are many unanswered qúestions in
relation to the collision in November 1991 and the public has a right to answers
in due course. Everybody would like to  know who was to blame for the
tragedy. It has been asked why two ultra-modern ships, with sophisticated
equipment, on a calm night, in an almost traffic free port, were involved in
such a collision.
Another important question has arisen
since that night, why no helicopter from the Air Corps in Baldonnel was
requested. One would have thought that Baldonnel was much nearer to the scene of
the tragedy than other helicopter bases. It has also been asked, why the
lifeboats at Howth and
It has also emerged that corrosive organic
acid on board the mv Kilkenny was declared as furniture on the ship's
manifest. This is a serious situation with great consequences for public health
and safety. Bags containing chemicals were washed up on Dollymount Strand in
Clontarf. The health and safety of residents in Clontarf then and on following
days was put at risk. Such incidents should not be allowed to happen again.
It has been pointed out that an antiquated
cargo listing system is used by Irish shipping companies, a manual system that
must surely be open to error. I have read reports about what happens in
situations like this. It has been suggested, for example, that when a ship is
leaving port there could be a last minute loading of cargo onto the ship if it
is realised there is spare capacity. No paperwork may be done in these cases. We
need to look at that practice.
The ship's manifest must be accurate. I have
seen reports suggesting that up to 40 per cent of a cargo could be mislisted in
some way. That is neither efficient nor satisfactory and it must be improved.
The listing system is antiquated and the answer maybe to introduce some form of
 The EC Council of Transport
Ministers discussed this matter in December 1991 and were briefed on the
mislabelling incident. I would like to ask the Minister if there are any
definite proposals from the EC Transport Commissioner on this issue. I
understand that proposals from the Commission are expected and that new
directives are now being examined. We need to bring these matters to the
attention of the Oireachtas to see how we can improve this situation.
Mislabelling of cargo could present a problem
for the Customs clearance services where personnel are entitled to know what
they are examining. There are questions there in relation to public health and
safety and perhaps the body set up to deal with health and safety issues in the
workplace could examine that issue also.
Perhaps the Minister could update me on
the progress of the salvage operation. Thankfully, we were spared a major oil or
diesel spillage in
There was one other issue I wanted to
raise in relation to shipping in the
Minister for the Marine (Dr. Woods) Michael J. Woods
Minister for the Marine (Dr. Woods): The
salvage operation has been progressing satisfactorily bearing in mind the fact
that the weather has delayed the operation from time to time. It is practically
at the last stage and coming to a final and very sensitive part of the operation
with regard to the missing seaman. The last part of the ship is due to be
salvaged shortly, depending on the weather. We have in the past two days
reminded the B & I and the salvors that this is a very sensitive stage and they
are aware of that.
All the details about the events of the
collision will be covered in the report, together with details about the times
at which various people were called out and the debris which got onto the beach,
apart from the few dangerous items mentioned by the Senator. Senator Haughey
raised the question about the publication of a report at the appropriate time. I
agree with that. Historically, in the Department of the Marine it has been
policy for internal Departments of the Marine reports to remain confidential to
the Minister for a number of reasons.
The Senator mentioned the Ballycotton
inquiry which had a different standing and we are well aware of the tragic
events there. The reasons normally given for confidentiality are that if such
findings were published witnesses might be less willing to be frank with the
Department of the Marine surveyor especially where victims may have died due to
carelessness or negligence. Confidentiality is essential given that the
Department's officer cannot offer the protection of a court of law. There is no
legal representation. Consequently, people say they are not prepared to give
information without the guarantee of confidentiality. Bearing in mind that the
principal objective of the surveyor is to establish the cause of the accident
and to try to ensure that such accidents do not occur again, the surveyor would
be anxious to get information even if on a  strictly confidential basis.
That was one of the reasons reports were not published.
Another reason was that the purpose of a
marine casualty report by the Department of the Marine is to review safety
procedures and to establish quickly the cause of the accident. It is not to
allocate blame to anyone, but to establish the procedures which were in
operation and the reason for the casualty. Very often, however, disclosure of a
report is sought as a basis for litigation or as a means of apportioning blame.
The reports were never intended for such use and more appropriate for a exist in
which to pursue these issues.
The third reason normally for not publishing
reports was that as the casualty reports are compiled without legal
representation of interested parties, by people without legal training, and
since those held responsible in a report would have no right of reply,
publication could lead to legal problems. These are the kind of reasons cited
for not publishing reports.
On Committee Stage of the Merchant Shipping
Bill, 1991, in the Dáil on Wednesday, 19 February, a number of Opposition
spokespersons called on me to release the reports of marine accident
investigations. I indicated in my response on that occasion that I was
sympathetic to the view that marine accident investigation reports should be
made available to the Houses of the Oireachtas and to the general public. While
there are good policy reasons this has not been the practice, the time has come,
I believe, to alter policy in this area.
I would like to draw Senators' attention to my
statement in Dáil Éireann earlier today when I announced that I have directed
that my Department will — unless legally debarred from so doing — release a
report of marine accident investigations undertaken by the Department of the
Marine. This is being done in the interests of maritime safety and to allay
public concern about marine accidents. We intend to release as comprehensive a
report as is feasible given the legal constraints and limitations.
This new policy will have implications
 for the conduct of inquiries by the marine surveyors of my Department and
as such it will operate on an experimental basis. Following my decision work has
already begun to devise a new modus operandi for future investigations.
This new policy will apply to the Kilkenny-Hasselwerder collision in
November last and to all subsequent marine accident investigations conducted by
my Department. I have asked the chief surveyor of my Department to keep me
advised if the objective of an investigation, which is to establish the cause of
an accident and set about preventing its recurrence, is impeded in any way by
this new open approach.
Senators should be aware that there will often
be a time lag between the date of an accident and the date of release of the
related report. Delays can occur in cases where the pursuit of civil or criminal
proceedings arising from a casualty prevents release of a report by the
Department until after the completion of the legal process. I trust that this
significant policy change will receive wide support and will be an indication of
an effort on my part to move to a more open and frank style of administration in
the maritime safety area.
In relation to the Kilkenny-Hasselwerder
collision on 22 November last, on the day following the collision, the Tánaiste
and then Minister for the Marine, Deputy Wilson, ordered a preliminary inquiry
under section 465 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894. The collision between the
two vessels resulted in the deaths of three crew members of the mv Kilkenny.
Preliminary findings indicated that the matter required investigation by the
Garda Síochána and the papers were referred to the Garda Commissioner. A senior
Garda officer has now been assigned to lead the investigation which is already
under way. When their investigation is completed the Garda authorities will
decide whether a file should be sent to the Office of the Director of Public
I am advised that it would be
inappropriate for me to comment further at this stage. I have also been legally
advised that, in view of the Garda investigation,  it would be
inappropriate at this stage to release a report based on the inquiry under the
Merchant Shipping Act, 1894. I hope, subject to legal considerations, to be in a
position to publish a report of the Department of the Marine inquiry when the
legal processes have been completed.
I know the Senator acknowledges that
there might be such a requirement and that consequently it might not be possible
to release a report at this time. I have noted the points made in relation to
the  new directive on labelling being considered at EC level and I want to
inform the Senator that this case has already been brought to the attention of
the committee involved. It is a very important practical example of the dangers
and difficulties that have been spelled out by the Senator here this evening.
That has already been brought to his attention and we will continue to pursue
The Seanad adjourned at until
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