Over two years since four fishermen died in a wreck outside Figueira da Foz, boatmaster Francisco Fortunato, 42, is being brought to trial on four counts of negligent homicide. The Public Ministry’s case rests on the fact that Fortunato acted in a “careless way out of touch with sea and weather conditions” by not ordering his men to wear life jackets or remove “objects” that would make floating difficult.
The tragedy that saw only four crew escape with their lives happened just half a nautical mile from the entrance to Figueira da Foz harbour in October 2013.
The “Jesus dos Navegantes” was taken by surprise by a sudden swell in the otherwise calm-looking ocean, and failed to reposition itself before being hit by a second wave.
The accident happened in daylight but toxicology reports on the deceased revealed “toxic quantities of morphine” as well as alcohol, in one of the victims, at 0.65 gm/litre.
Fortunato’s case is due to come to Coimbra court on Monday (November 16).