As Gardai at Milford continue to treat a fire on Ballywhoriskey Pier in Fanad as suspected arson last Thursday, it has emerged the damage to the fishing gear and trawler is in the region of €125,000.
Local man, Patrick Friel, the owner of the crab fishing vessel, the forty foot ‘Sanmar’ said the extent of damage to the boat and gear is around €125,000.
He is awaiting the cost of surveys relating to the destruction of the electrics, the communications system and the boat’s hull before the final cost of the damage is fully identified.
A marine engineering survey will also be part of process. In the meantime the crew members are left without work and that may continue for a number of weeks until full repairs are completed and the boat made seaworthy once again.
Mr. Friel had been working on the pier earlier in the day on Thursday in preparation for the return of the boat to the fishing grounds.
He has also confirmed that reports that he’d sold the boat are totally without foundation and he’s got no idea where or why that rumour arose.
The Fire Services and Gardai were alerted to the scene of the blaze at 5.20 on last Thursday evening. Fire officers from Milford, using their new tender in its first major operation prevented the blaze from damaging five other half deckers on the quayside.
The ‘Sanmar’ has been owned by Patrick Friel for the past ten years old and fishes crab along the west coast and has a capacity to work 35 miles offshore. It was purchased at a cost of €550,000 and has a crew of four.
Mr. Friel said the damage is devastating with over 800 crab pots on the pier that cost €70 each and twenty miles of rope all lost in the blaze. The gear alone is valued in excess of €75,000. He said that while the boat is insured, gear cannot be covered.
They are among a small number of fishing families left working the seas in this part of Donegal and have always used Ballywhoriskey as their base.
The vessel was berthed along the pier at low tide and that prevented more serious damage as the flash fire driven by a cross-wind swept across Mulroy bay from the south east fanned the flames and quickly destroyed all the gear on the pier.
At the same time the new three-phase power crane that has lain unused for the past year also suffered scorching. It is not known if it was damaged otherwise in the blaze.
Supt. David Kelly is appealing to anyone who may have witnessed any suspicious movements in the area in the period of around 5.00pm on last Thursday to contact the Gardai immediately.
Gardai believe the fire may have been started maliciously. No arrests have been made but a full investigation into the blaze is ongoing and Gardai are asking for any suspicious movements in the locality in the day preceding the blaze to contact them in Milford.
A Garda forensic team spent all some time at the scene of the fire on Friday morning searching for clues as to the cause of the fire.
The pier is in an isolated location at the entrance to Mulroy Bay and has been a traditional fishing base for many generations.
The Garda Press Office said” “Gardaí are investigating a criminal damage by fire incident at Ballywhoriskey Pier,which occurred on the 22/02/18 at approximately 17:30. No arrests have been made, investigation ongoing.”Tags: