Missing skipper a ’gentleman’ of sea
THE skipper of the boat that sank off Gladstone’s coast has been described by friends as a “true gentleman” of the ocean.
Ben Leahy, who is also believed to own the FV is well-known among Cairns’ fishing community as a highlyskilled skipper who had been working on the water for more than 20 years.
Police are understood to have told relatives that Mr Leahy was believed to have been in the engine room when the boat overturned.
His parents, Patrick and Rosemary Leahy, travelled to 1770 from their Brisbane home on Tuesday, and were reportedly told they should expect the worst.
Cairns Game Fishing Association president Daniel McCarthy, who spoke to Mr Leahy only a few weeks ago before the headed south to harvest sea cucumbers, said the Australian Maritime College student was a very capable seagoer.
“He’s a great guy — very well travelled on the Reef, very experienced,” Mr McCarthy said.
“He’s a lovely guy. I just can’t believe what’s happened.
“He’s a strong swimmer, too, who is mad into spearfishing and diving.
“He’s spent a lot of time in the water – very fit and strong.”
He said the fishing community was praying for a miracle that Mr Leahy and the rest of the missing crew members of the were found safe and sound.
“It certainly doesn’t sound good, but we can’t give up — and miracles do happen,” he said. “We’re going to need one.” The is reportedly a well-equipped, large 17m vessel, kitted out with all safety requirements, including a satellite phone.
However it is understood the boat was unable to get a mayday call out before it capsized.
Former Portsmith Fuels logistics manager Brett Kennerly, who used to service the vessel, said it was sound and described its crews as “consummate professionals”.
Skilled: The Dianne’s captain Ben Leahy