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Trawler death fisherman was working on uncle's boat

Published 25/08/2015

The boat was in the fishing port of Killybegs for routine maintenance work to its engines
The boat was in the fishing port of Killybegs for routine maintenance work to its engines

A fisherman who died after being overcome by fumes was working on his uncle's boat when the tragedy happened.

James Joyce, 27, from Inis Mor in the Aran Islands, died in hospital after being pulled from the hold of the trawler Oilean an Oir in Killybegs harbour in Donegal on Monday.

The 23m trawler, registered in Galway, is owned by the Joyce family, with the dead man's uncle Stephen the master of the boat.

It was in the fishing port of Killybegs for routine maintenance work to engines when Mr Joyce and a Filipino crewman, aged in his forties, were overcome by fumes.

Investigations are being carried out by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board and the Health and Safety Authority, with initial examinations focusing on fumes from refrigeration units in the boat's hold.

Mr Joyce was said to be an experienced fisherman having worked on trawlers for several years.

It is believed his Filipino colleague raised the alarm at the quayside before attempting to help him out of the hold.

Mr Joyce died in Letterkenny General Hospital late on Monday night while his crewmate was said to remain seriously ill.

Francis O'Donnell, chief executive of the Irish Fish Producers Organisation which the trawler company was a member of, offered sympathies to all those who knew Mr Joyce.

"We would offer our sincere condolences to the family and to his friends and to Stephen Joyce, the master of the vessel and the rest of the crew," he said.

"It's something that the Irish fishing industry has gone through a review of recently. We are conscious of the risks involved, not only at sea, and it's just a major tragedy."

The directors of the Oilean an Oir are listed as Noel Stephen Joyce, Bertie Joyce and Stephen Joyce.

The boat fished for herring, mackerel, whitefish and prawns.

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