In particular, 2 crew were killed; one went overboard and his body was not discovered until several days later, and a second crew member died using a ship’s crane to tighten wire ropes on a stack of logs. What is said, an elderly and unwell passenger died on board a New Zealand-flagged ship travelling from Pitcairn Island to Tauranga, and a worker died in a fish processing factory.

Serious injuries in the industry rose sharply by 21% compared to 37% in 2014–15.


The report stresses that over the last few years the number of fatalities occurring within commercial sectors has been lower compared with the recreational sector, with the exception of 2016/17, when a single commercial incident in Kaipara Harbour contributed to an increase in the death toll.

This year, and after several health and safety campaigns, including focused inspection campaigns, such as WorkSafe with the aims to improve the understanding of stakeholders’ duties when operating as Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBUs), was to review and improve health and safety arrangements.

Credit: Maritime ZN

Maritime ZN says that despite the relatively low number of five fatalities in the commercial sector this year, the number of serious harm events reported increased in 2018/19 to 45, compared with 28 reported in the same period last year.

This increase was driven by 16 incidents in Foreign Shipping- up from 8 in the previous year, and 11 from Domestic Passenger/Non-Passenger Outdoor Adventure.

Whatsoever, Maritime ZN highlights that

we are receiving more notifications than in the past. This is encouraging as we know that there is a significant under reporting.

The report further highlights the IMO adoption of a draft amendment to SOLAS regulation of ships lifting appliances, which New Zealand proposed and its election as vice-chair of the Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control in the Asia Pacific Region (Tokyo MOU). Adding that no incidents of serious marine casualty involving Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) vessels occurred for the third year in a row.

No security incidents were reported, but oil spills across New Zealand rose to 98, higher than previous years. The increase in serious accidents and spills was partly attributed to a greater reporting regime, whatsoever New Zealand played a role in supporting Pacific countries with port state control systems and oil spill control.

Credit: Maritime ZN

What is more, New Zealand port state control conducted 257 ship inspections of international vessels, detaining three ships for breaches related to the Maritime Transport Act and Maritime Labour Convention during the 12 months to July 2019.

Three ships were detained; the Panama-flagged bulk carrier Daiwan Justice at Lyttelton for failure to pay crew wages; Wisdom Marine International ship Taiwan Fortune, was also detained in 2018 for failure to pay crew wages.

Also, port state control detained the Panama-flagged bulk carrier Spinnaker SW in Bluff after finding the captain directed his crew to lash logs at height loaded by shore-based stevedores without protected equipment.

Because of the high social cost of fatalities and serious harm within the maritime transport system, Maritime NZ aims to reduce the risks by

  • maintaining close relationships with maritime stakeholders to ensure their interests are considered
  • helping to set safety standards, through either regulation or best practice guidelines, that the maritime sector is expected to follow
  • controlling the entry of commercial operators into the maritime system to make sure that they meet set standards through certification of seafarers and maritime operations, registering ships, and certifying ship surveyors and safety equipment
  • influencing the behavior of recreational participants through our own safety program and in partnership with the recreational boating community
  • ensuring continuing compliance with safety standards by auditing New Zealand maritime operations, inspecting foreign ships visiting New Zealand and investigating accidents and incidents
  • educating the commercial and recreational maritime community about safety requirements and how best to meet them
  • enforcing safety standards where they are not being met, by stopping individuals, ships or companies from operating, and by taking prosecutions where appropriate.

In October, New Zealand initiated its annual Safer Boating week, following a fatal winter that led to a number of boating deaths with at least 18 people on its toll in recreational boating accidents, compared to just four in the whole of last year, while 12 of this year’s fatalities had been since the end of March.

Maritime ZN's message for the year was : "Prep, check, know", which means:

  1. Prep your boat: Service the engine, check and change the fuel, check the battery, and generally give the boat a good once-over.
  2. Check your gear: Make sure your lifejackets are still fit for purpose and you have enough, service any inflatable lifejackets, ensure you have two reliable forms of communication equipment – usually, marine VHF radio is best, check the marine weather forecast.
  3. Know the rules: Ensure you know the rules of the road on the water, and check your local bylaws to make sure you understand what the requirements are in your area.

Recently, with respect to the recently-released figures on boating safety in New Zealand, Maritime NZ stressed that waterproof communications can save a life: An estimated 59% of recreational boating fatalities involve inadequate communications, and only 40% of boaties report having two ways to call for help every time they go on the water.

Boating research has shown 40% of boaties take two waterproof ways to call for help every time and a further 16% most of the time they go on the water, but that means 44% still don’t.

It was stressed that key risk factors for recreational boaties are:

  • failure to wear lifejackets all the time;
  • inability to communicate for help when an accident happens;
  • failure to check the weather forecast before going out; and
  • alcohol use.

To explore more about the recently published Annual Report, click on the PDF bellow.