“Avoidable Collision” Costs Jail Term for Sailor



Second officer of Scottish Viking ferry, Pasquale Miccio, failed to change course or heed warnings when it collided with the vessel “Homeland” at St Abbs Head.  The collision resulted in the death of the Homeland crewmember Daniel McNeil, 16.  Miccio, who was originally charged with culpable homicide, pleaded guilty to breaching the 1995 Merchant Shipping Act at the High Court in Glasgow in March.

At the earlier hearing, the court heard how the Scottish Viking had a gross tonnage of 26,904.  It had an overall length of 186m.  In comparison, the Homeland was only 11m long and and had a gross tonnage of 22.59.  The Scottish Viking was sailing between Rosyth, Fife, and Zeebrugge in Belgium.  Following the impact, the two brothers managed to scramble on to the wheelhouse roof but within seconds the boat sank.

Judge Lord Bannatyne said the offence was so serious he had no other option but to send him to jail.  Passing sentence, the judge said the maximum sentence available to him was two years.

He said: “What happened on that day was a dreadful tragedy which resulted in this young man being dying at a very early stage of his life.”

“The collision was most certainly avoidable,” said Coast Guard officer Allan Marsh, who led the investigation into the accident.  “We’re never going to know why this happened because Mr. Miccio never gave an account explaining his actions.”

Mr McNeil’s family welcomed the verdict.  Standing outside the high court, Daniel’s father Donald said: “We’re glad it’s a custodial sentence because that allows the sea to be safer for a while.”

BBC Credit Link


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