Gardaí confirm ID found on torso matches missing Spanish fisherman

ID card found on human remains in Irish waters matches missing man’s name

Gardaí investigating the discovery of human remains in fishing nets off the Irish coast have confirmed that a fisherman, matching identification documentation found on the body, went missing from a Spanish trawler last year.

Supt Declan O'Sullivan of Bantry Garda Station confirmed that gardaí have received confirmation from Spanish police that a 38-year-old fisherman whose name matches that on an ID card found on the human remains was reported as going missing from a Spanish trawler fishing in Atlantic in 2018.

The man is not from Europe so gardaí have now begun liaising with Interpol to make contact with police in his home country so they can approach his family to obtain a DNA sample which they can then seek to match with DNA samples taken at post-mortem, he said.

According to Supt O’Sullivan, it may take several weeks for the DNA samples to be obtained from the man’s family and a match obtained with the DNA samples taken at post-mortem to conclusively confirm the man’s identity.



Supt O'Sullivan also revealed that Gardaí are liaising with West Cork Coroner Frank O'Connell in relation to the discovery and Mr O'Connell confirmed to The Irish Times that he intends holding an inquest into the man's death later in the year once formal identification of the deceased has taken place.

The largely skeletal remains of the lower half of the male torso was found by the crew of a French registered Spanish trawler, Rio de Bouza, when she hauled her nets when fishing midway between Cork and Cornwall, some 180 nautical miles off the Cork coast on January 19th.

The trawler, which fishes out of Marin in Galicia in Northern Spain, was due to land her fish catch in Castletownbere and when she docked in the West Cork fishing port on January 20th, the skipper notified gardaí who took possession of the human remains which were contained within some clothing.

Gardaí recovered a plastic Spanish ID in a waterproof pouch attached to the torso, bearing the name and photo of a 38-year-old man with an expiry date of 2011 and they made contact with Europol to see if anyone bearing that name has been reported missing from a trawler or freighter.

The man's remains were brought to Cork University Hospital where Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster carried out a post-mortem examination at which she took DNA samples which will now be used to try and confirm the man's identity once family DNA samples are received.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times