A failure to keep watch nearly had disastrous results on the ocean off the Bay of Plenty coast, New Zealand, as the near 20 metre fishing vessel, FV Commission, collided with a 266m container ship, the Kota Lembah, on July 2021.
The skipper was sentenced in the Tauranga District Court under the Maritime Transport for Operating a ship in a manner which caused unnecessary danger or risk to any other person or to any property.
On the night of the incident, the FV Commission had been at sea for a week, and as well as the skipper, it also had two crew members and an MPI observer on board.
While his crew was setting out longlines for fishing, the skipper was manning the wheelhouse. At about 3.15 am, he observed the Kota Lembah on his radar. Investigations Manager, Pete Dwen says despite seeing the vessel on the radar, he went out the back to help his crew.
He remained away from the wheelhouse for 40 minutes. Didn’t check on the location of the Kota Lembah and at 3.55 am; the two vessels collided. This was a collision a long way off the coast of New Zealand,and was completely avoidable
Luckily no one was injured.
It is acknowledged that Kota Lembah had contributed to the incident as it had failed to give way as required by the Maritime Rules and it did not alter their course either to avoid a collision.
The skipper was fined $1625.
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