The captain and first mate of the Condor Vitesse ferry that hit and killed a French fisherman begins today

The captain and first mate of the Condor Vitesse, which was involved in a collision in March 2011 with a fishing boat, resulting in the death of its skipper, stand trial in France today charged with manslaughter.

Philippe Lesaulnier was killed when the fishing boat he was on with two crewmembers, Les Marquises, was sliced in two by the Condor Vitesse as it travelled from St Malo to St Helier at a speed of 36.9 knots on 28 March 2011.

An investigation shortly afterwards by French maritime organisation, the BEAmer, found that both the captain, Paul Le Romancer, and his first mate, Yves Tournon, were distracted at the time of the collision, had not sounded the fog horn and were travelling too fast for the foggy conditions.

The report stated: “In the wheelhouse almost continuous talks without any link with the watchkeeping, maintained an atmosphere not compatible with the necessary concentration to conduct a HSC in the fog.”

Following the incident the two men were removed from operational duties.

The trial, which is being held at Coutances High Court in north-west France relates to Le Romancer and Tournon, not Condor Ferries.