Ports of Auckland Limited (POAL) and one of its ship’s masters have been fined a total of $432,400 after pilot boats traveled at excessive speed in the Waitemata Harbour over a period of time involving thousands of voyages.
Maritime NZ Director, Keith Manch, said POAL has also agreed to pay $220,000 to the family of a swimmer, who died after being struck by POAL pilot boat, Wakatere, in April 2017.
POAL and the master of the pilot boat were sentenced in the Auckland District Court last week, having previously pleaded guilty to one charge each under the Health and Safety at Work Act (section 48, failure to comply with a duty that exposes an individual to a risk of serious injury, serious illness or death). The Court fined POAL $424,400 and the master $8,400.
POAL admitted its pilot boats exceeded speed limits on between 3,465 and 4,257 journeys from 20 April 2017 to 31 January 2018. The master admitted exceeding the speed limits on one voyage on 20 April 2017.
Three rules govern the speed of all vessels in the Waitemata Harbour:
- 5 knot rule: The national Maritime Rules, which apply throughout the country, set a speed limit of 5 knots within 200 metres of shore.
- 12 knot rule: The Auckland Harbourmaster has imposed a 12 knot speed limit across most of the Waitemata Harbour between the Harbour Bridge and North Head – the “Waitemata Restricted Zone”.
- Safe speed rule: The national Maritime Rules require all vessels to travel at safe speed for the circumstances and conditions irrespective of what, if any, speed limit applies in that area.