Fianna Fáil Senator, Denis O’Donovan, has called on the Minister for the Marine, Simon Coveney, to immediately provide grant funding for personal location beacons which help trace fisherman lost at sea.
Senator O’Donovan commented: “The terrible fishing tragedy that occurred in Tramore last week highlighted the very real dangers that fishermen face every day they go to work. Some small comfort for the families of the fishermen that lost their lives was the fact the bodies were able to be repatriated.
“Unfortunately, I know of 100 families in West Cork where bodies have never been recovered. I have previously called on Minister Coveney to introduce a grant system or pilot scheme for person location beacons, which are a watch type device. If a fisherman falls overboard or a boat capsizes an automatic signal goes out to the local lifeguard station with a precise location. This can be the difference between life and death. An immediate response from the emergency services will save lives.
“The number of people lost at sea, pro rata, is far greater than the number of people lost on our roads. We have a very small population of sea goers and fishermen, more must be done to protect their industry.
“I am asking Minister Coveney to initiate a provision whereby personal location beacons are made compulsory so as to protect the safety of those taking part in maritime activities.
“In the event that the emergency services cannot be contacted via phone due to battery or signal strength, a personal location beacon gives alerts to the search and rescue authorities, no matter how remote the location.”