Edward Doherty, 65, and his nephew Robert McLaughlin, 41, died when their boat the Jennifer capsized off Glengad on the Inishowen Peninsula on November 1st last year.
The two men had been out checking on lobster pots when the tragedy occurred.
Mr Doherty’s body was found a few hours after the accident but his nephew John’s body was not found until 23 days later when it was washed up onto a beach.
A report issued yesterday by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCBI) said it was caused by winds or waves but the number of crab pots on board made it unsafe.
The report said “The total estimated weight of pots and ropes onboard the ‘Jennifer’ at the time of the incident can be considered to be in the region of between 915kgs and 1096kgs; the equivalent of carrying between 12 and 14 extra persons aboard the ‘Jennifer’.”
However Mr Doherty’s heartbroken wife Marian, of Ross Head, Malin Head, has disputed claims that the boat may have been weighed down and said her husband was an extremely safe fisherman.
She said he had all the relevant safety certificates.
“All equipment on Eddie’s boat was of the highest quality and was the most up to date available. Problems with any piece of equipment would result in Eddie either having it repaired or replaced immediately
“He would have definitely considered himself well prepared for any situation which would arise at sea,” she said.
And she added “Eddie and Robert had been fishing all their lives. Safety in the sea was always a priority.”
Reacting to investigator’s claims about too many crab pots on board the ‘Jennifer’ she said she had ‘serious issues’ with these findings.
“They (the sections of the report) give the impression that the boat was carrying too many pots. With Eddie’s experience and his regard for safety the load would have been spread evenly, ie pots and ropes over the deck of the boat and therefore this would not have had an affect on the stability of the boat,” she said.
Mrs Doherty also disputed the weather reports on the day of gales information in the report, claiming they were ‘good’ with a southerly Force 3 to 4 at the time. The weather only deteriorated after the accident, she said.
However the MCBI investigation said it stood by its findings in relation to the number of crab pots and the weather conditions.
It admitted the ‘Jennifer’ was in good condition and that ‘the most probable cause of capsize has to be wind or wave action.’
The MCBI recommended a review of the Code of Practice for Fishing Vessels under 15 metres ‘with a view to establishing revised appropriate stability criteria’.
The organisation also wants life-raft installation and the use of self-activating warning devices to be made mandatory.