Feeds

Rogue fishing skipper faked own death

Jail for author of premature obituary

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

A fishing skipper who attempted to avoid questioning by the Marine and Fisheries Agency (MFA) by pretending he was dead and submitting his own obituary to a trade newspaper was yesterday sentenced to six-and-a-half years' jail.

Derek Atkins, 56, of Portsmouth, was under investigation by the MFA for various offences, including 20 counts of "failing to submit proper landing log book declarations for the British registered fishing vessel Zuiderzee which he skippered in 2007 and a further charge of failure to notify a landing of scallops at Shoreham, Sussex".

He was also under scrutiny by The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), which reported him for "obtaining five Certificates of Competency by deception and sailing as an unqualified person under Section 52 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995".

When the MFA "invited" Atkins for interview, it learned he'd sadly popped his clogs. The 22 June 2007 issue of Fishing News carried the following obituary: "He was totally dedicated to his career and had little time for officials, MPs or political parties who he believed were mostly a waste of time, money and effort.

"He firmly believed that between them DEFRA, the MCA and the government's rules simply want to stop the British fisherman earning an honest living and have the British fleet scrapped to enable foreigners to take whatever they want from British waters.

"After all, he would say, they have had everything else so they may as well have our fishing industry too. People found him to be a gentleman at sea with a great sense of humour who would always help anyone. He was a quiet family man and will be deeply missed by his family and friends."

An MFA fisheries inspector was suspcious, and contacted the police. A subsequent investigation revealed Atkins' offences were not restricted to the maritime.

At a 12 December 2008 court hearing, Atkins pleaded guilty to a string of charges, including perverting the course of justice, deception and fraud, and "failing to alert the authorities of change of name while on the sex offenders' register".

In sentencing Atkins yesterday, the judge said: "I'm satisfied that you are a lying, cunning and calculating fraudster who has exploited friends and acquaintances for many years. In addition you are a determined identity fraudster who used a false name to earn income as an unqualified skipper, who with some limited experience endangered not just yourself and the vessel but the crew and other vessels. It is obvious that was an act that needs to be taken seriously."

An MFA spokesman said: "This was a case of the enforcement agencies working together in what turned out to be a very serious matter that went way beyond fishing offences. Atkins had complete disregard for fishing rules designed to safeguard fish stocks and ultimately fishermen's jobs - but considering the serious nature of the other offences it's not difficult to work out why."

Captain Andrew Phillips of the MCA's Enforcement Unit said: "Mr Atkins had absolutely no qualifications whatsoever to sail as a skipper of a UK fishing vessel. In doing so he put at risk fishermen, his vessel and the integrity of the environment. He also put at risk insurance cover for any vessel he worked on." ®

Bootnote

Fishing News published the obituary "in good faith", the MCA notes.

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
US Social Security 'wasted $300 million on an IT BOONDOGGLE'
Scrutiny committee bods probe derailed database project
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.