Wednesday, 6 October 2010
I understand that the Marine Casualty Investigation Board is carrying out such an investigation. However, under the Merchant Shipping (Investigation of Maritime Casualties) Act of 2000 the Marine Casualty Investigation Board is independent of me in the exercise of its functions.
I do not want to detain the House for too long on this issue. It is quite some time since the Asgard II sunk in the Bay of Biscay. The State was subsequently paid the appropriate insurance for the vessel and the money was put into the general Exchequer fund. It also spelled the end of the sail training programme and the Minister for Transport also has responsibility for the marine. I ask in hope rather than in confidence if he has any plans to reignite the sail training programme in Ireland, which could have a valuable contribution to make for many young people involved, as the Asgard II training programme did. I understand that is his responsibility.
Regarding the marine casualty investigation board, does the Minister have a date for the publication of the report on the sinking of the Asgard II?
I do not have that date. Section 8 of the Act states that the board shall be independent of the Minister in the performance of its functions and it is independent of any other person or body whose interest could conflict with the functions of the board. I cannot help the Deputy on this matter. Without being smart, I do not know if the question may be answered if Deputy Coveney raises it with the board.
Deputy Coveney has more information on this matter that I do.
The sail training programme is a matter for the Minister for Defence. The Asgard II was managed by Coiste an Asgard and was owned by the Minister for Defence. The sail training programme ran under that Department.