DARD: Audit of MMV Ostrea found major weaknesses

The MMV Ostrea.

The MMV Ostrea.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) has acknowledged an audit of the procurement of the MMV Ostrea, which sank in Londonderry before Christmas, identified “significant weaknesses and control issues in the management of [the] project.”

DARD confirmed the audit’s findings after the Sentinel reported the boat had a history of faults and a former Loughs Agency skipper, who was tasked with taking delivery of the boat after she was shipped from New Zealand to Sheerness in 2009, resigned after reporting he was “horrified with her condition.”

A DARD Spokesperson said: “At the request of Fisheries Division, an Internal Audit was undertaken in relation to the procurement of the monitoring vessel (the MMV Ostrea) by the Loughs Agency. The audit report identified significant weaknesses and control issues in the management of this project. However, the auditors could find no evidence of fraudulent activity. At no time was the vessel inspected by Fisheries Division.”