Second fisherman dies in Killybegs trawler incident

Joel Alama tried to rescue James Joyce when he was overcome by fumes on board

A Filipino fisherman who fell ill while trying to rescue a colleague after he was overcome by fumes has died.

Joel Alama raised the alarm about the incident on the Oilean an Oir trawler in Killybegs harbour in Donegal on Monday.

His colleague James Joyce (27), originally from Inis Mór in the Aran Islands, died in hospital several hours after being pulled from the boat's hold. Mr Alama has been in hospital since.

Family, friends and members of the fishing community were attending his funeral on the island as news emerged of the second crew man’s death. Mr Alama (46) was originally from General Santos city in the Philippines but had been living on the Aran Islands.


The men were working on the Galway registered 23-metre trawler in Killybegs harbour to prepare it for routine engine maintenance when the accident happened.

The boat is owned and operated by the Joyce family and skippered by Mr Joyce’s uncle Stephen. It is understood Mr Alama raised the alarm with other crews on the quay after Mr Joyce collapsed before he attempted to rescue him, only to fall ill himself.

Investigations are being carried out by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board and the Health and Safety Authority, with the initial focus on fumes from refrigeration units in the boat's hold or fumes from stagnant water.

Mr Joyce’s remains were brought to Inis Mór from Rossaveal by the local RNLI lifeboat yesterday for a funeral Mass in Cill Ronan Church at midday today.

Gardaí confirmed Mr Alama died in Letterkenny General Hospital.