Maritime NZ welcomes the High Courts interpretation of rules relating to maritime pilots licences

Source: Maritime New Zealand

Maritime NZ has welcomed the outcome of the High Court Declaratory Judgment that clarifies the requirements for pilot licences under the Maritime Rules.

The New Zealand Maritime Pilots Association and the New Zealand Merchant Service Guild sought the declaratory judgment after Maritime NZ indicated an experienced mariner who did not hold a Master certificate could enter a training programme to become a Marine Pilot. Master certificates are issued in New Zealand and overseas in accordance with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers.

Pilot training programmes are designed to ensure trainees reach a level of competency that ensures they can operate safely as a Marine Pilot. The Maritime Rules were open to interpretation regarding whether a Master ticket is a necessary pre-requisite, regardless of experience and competency.

Chief Executive and Director Keith Manch said the outcome indicated that the High Court has interpreted the current rule to mean generally that those wanting to train as Pilots in New Zealand must hold a Master certificate or the equivalent. However, Navy Officers and Pilots trained overseas – including those who don’t hold Master tickets but have undertaken Ab Initio (from the beginning) training – have a pathway to become Pilots in New Zealand.

“This decision clarifies the requirements of the current Maritime Rules regarding education, skills and experience for Pilots in New Zealand. To some extent, it broadens the pool of people available to become Pilots – subject to appropriate training and competency checks.

“Pilots must have appropriate experience, qualifications and competencies for safe pilotage as they play a crucial role in guiding ships into our ports and harbours – a big responsibility to place on anyone’s shoulders. Maritime NZ’s view is that ultimately what really matters is that the Pilot is competent to undertake this responsibility – regardless of the path they have taken to get to this position.”

Mr Manch said Maritime NZ looks forward to continuing to engage with industry to continually develop and improve the regulatory system for pilotage so that it operates effectively to support the safe, efficient and effective operation of the maritime sector.

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VHF radio + float-free distress beacon save Chatham Island cray fishers

Source: Maritime New Zealand

Three crew from a Chatham Islands crayfish boat were saved this morning thanks to a float-free EPIRB distress beacon and the VHF radio network.

Rescue Coordination Centre NZ received the distress beacon alert at 8.20 am this morning from Western Reef, 32 kilometres northwest of the Chatham Islands. The team spoke with the owner – the registered contact – who was on land. He confirmed that three people were on board the Mary Ellen II – a 10 metre commercial cray fishing boat.

“The beacon saved their lives,” said Senior Search and Rescue Officer Dave Wilson. “The only way we knew they were in difficulty was the alert from the EPIRB distress beacon – it’s vital to have one on board.”

RCCNZ worked with Maritime Radio to broadcast a Mayday message. “We used the local Chatham Islands VHF radio channel to request help for the stricken vessel,” he said.

Following the call, two fishing boats headed to the scene. The fishing boat Falcon II uplifted the three crew members at 9.45 am from the bow of the semi-sunken vessel. They were suffering from hypothermia, cuts and bruises. The crew have been taken to Chatham Island’s main wharf in Waitangi Bay.

“The owner recently installed the float-free EPIRB distress beacon on the vessel. The crew reported they were swamped via the stern by a wave. The skipper tried to dive down into the boat to access the beacon but was unable reach it. Fortunately, it deployed automatically and floated to the surface, transmitting their distress signal and alerting RCCNZ to their situation,” Wilson said.

Dave said this rescue also demonstrates that VHF radio is your rescue network at sea. “The rescue only happened because the other boats tuned into the VHF network and were able to assist.”

Float-free EPIRB distress beacons that can activate automatically became compulsory on commercial fishing vessels from 1 January 2019. This requirement applies to those vessels between 7.5 metres and 24 metres operating outside enclosed waters.

RCCNZ is responsible for a search and rescue region which covers 30 million square km stretching from Antarctica almost to the equator.

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For the first time: No Excuses for Otago boaties

Source: Maritime New Zealand

Otago boaties can expect ‘No Excuses’ from the Harbourmaster and Maritime NZ this weekend. The team will be on the water to ensure boaties are wearing life jackets, keeping a safe speed and following the rules.

This is the first time Otago Regional Council has done ‘No Excuses’ days and lead Maritime Officer for the project, Matt Wood said Maritime NZ is thrilled to be working alongside the Harbourmaster on the campaign.

“The campaign is about keeping people safe. The team will be on the water ensuring people know and follow the maritime rules. This is a significant step to improve boating safety in Otago,” Mr Wood said.

“The weather’s looking promising for the weekend. We’re expecting lots of boaties enjoying one of the last summer weekends.”

ORC Harbourmaster Steve Rushbrook said he was really pleased to be part of the national campaign for the first time, and was looking forward to engaging with boaties in Otago on all aspects of water safety.

“This is the first opportunity as Harbourmaster that I have had to engage the public in a national campaign of this type. It’s so essential that people understand the maritime rules. A lifejacket could be the difference between life and death in any incident on the water – it’s really that simple.”

The nationwide ‘No Excuses’ campaign run by Maritime NZ, 13 councils and the Taupo Harbourmaster, can result in infringement notices of up to $300, depending on each council’s bylaws. Each council is conducting five

‘No Excuses’ days until the campaign ends on 31 March 2019. ‘No Excuses’ data from more than 3,000+ recreational boaties engaged with so far across New Zealand shows that compliance with lifejacket rules is very high – consistently over 90%. Additional good news is that almost all vessels in coastal and deeper waters have VHF radios on board.

Notes to editors

  • Full results from this year’s ‘No Excuses’ campaign will be released in mid-2019.
  • The Maritime Transport Act and council bylaws require carrying and wearing lifejackets. The five knot rule (speed limit) is in place within 200 metres of shore and divers, and within 50 metres of swimmers and other boats.
  • ‘No Excuses’ began in the summer of 2016 with Maritime NZ and eight councils. Last summer, 10 councils chose to join in, and in 2018-19 this has increased to 14 (including Lake Taupo, whose Harbourmaster is employed by the Department of Internal Affairs). The period of the campaign started two months earlier than previous years in October 2018 and continues until March.

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Person rescued from sea 15 nautical miles east of Tolaga Bay, near Gisborne

Source: Maritime New Zealand

A man who went overboard from his yacht earlier today was fortunate to be rescued before nightfall. The Rescue Coordination Centre NZ (RCCNZ) began a search and rescue operation at 2.04 pm today after receiving a MAYDAY call from the yacht.

RCCNZ Senior Search and Rescue Coordinator Chris Henshaw said, “Maritime Radio asked the remaining person on the yacht to activate their emergency beacon so we could establish their position. Two beacons were activated at 2.14pm.”

RCCNZ tasked a number of search and rescue aircraft and vessels: the Hastings based Hawkes Bay Rescue helicopter, the Gisborne based Coastguard, two fixed-wing aircraft and a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3k2 Orion. Commercial vessels also responded to the mayday call. Some were up to 2 and a half hours away.

The man was located and rescued by the Hawke’s Bay rescue helicopter.

They located him in the water and used a rescue swimmer to get him onboard the helicopter.

The Coastguard vessel Gisborne Lion Foundation Rescue is currently escorting the yacht to Gisborne.

“Most accidents occur suddenly with no warning. Lifejackets are essential for all recreational activities on the water. It was fortunate the yacht had both a vhf radio and emergency beacons (two) to raise the alert. Without appropriate communications devices and beacons it may have turned out differently,” said Mr Henshaw.

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No Excuses for Kapiti boaties this weekend

Source: Maritime New Zealand

There will be ‘No Excuses’ for Kapiti boaties found breaking the rules off the Kapiti Coast this weekend.

“We’re working with our partners at Greater Wellington Regional Council and Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) staff on the NZ Police launch Lady Elizabeth IV to ensure boaties are doing the right thing and following the rules”, said lead Maritime Officer for the project, Matt Wood.

The nationwide ‘No Excuses’ campaign run by Maritime NZ, 13 councils and the Taupo Harbourmaster, can result in infringement notices of up to $300, depending on each council’s bylaws. Each council is conducting five ‘No Excuses’ days until the campaign ends on 31 March 2019.

“While the Harbourmaster and I are conducting ‘No Excuses’ – checking boaties’ lifejackets and speed – our friends at MPI are checking that the catch limits and sizes are being observed,” Mr Wood said. “When we work together, we can achieve more.”

‘No Excuses’ data from more than 3,000+ recreational boaties engaged with so far across New Zealand shows that compliance with lifejacket rules is very high – consistently over 90%. Additional good news is that almost all vessels in coastal and deeper waters have VHF radios on board.

“Kiwi boaties are in the habit of wearing lifejackets,” said Mr Wood. “They also understand the importance of taking waterproof ways to communicate. VHF is a strong option – it’s your rescue network at sea and it lets you obtain help from nearby boaties.”

With perfect weather conditions forecast, the team is expecting a busy weekend. Already this morning, the team have chatted with five boaties – who crucially were all following the rules. “There are lots of boaties out on the water. It’s a mint day,” Mr Wood said.

“Most boaties we chat with are happy to see us on the water. Look out for our team this weekend and say ‘hi’ if you see us.”

Notes to editors

  • Full results from this year’s ‘No Excuses’ campaign will be released in mid-2019.
  • The Maritime Transport Act and council bylaws require carrying and wearing lifejackets. The five knot rule (speed limit) is in place within 200 metres of shore and divers, and within 50 metres of swimmers and other boats.
  • The Wellington-based Lady Elizabeth IV is an 18.5 metre catamaran, which allows up to eight staff from different agencies to go to sea for a week.
  • ‘No Excuses’ began in the summer of 2016 with Maritime NZ and eight councils. Last summer, 10 councils chose to join in, and in 2018-19 this has increased to 14 (including Lake Taupo, whose Harbourmaster is employed by the Department of Internal Affairs). The period of the campaign started two months earlier than previous years in October 2018 and continues until March.

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Taiwanese vessel detained in New Zealand for not paying crew

Source: Maritime New Zealand

Maritime NZ detained the Panama-flagged bulk carrier Daiwan Justice on Saturday, 2 March 2019, at Lyttelton after a complaint the crews’ wages had not been paid for almost four months.

Maritime NZ Southern Regional Compliance Manager Michael Vredenburg said, the detention was lifted later on Saturday after the ship’s operator, Taiwanese company, Wisdom Marine International Limited, paid the crew.

Last year Daiwan Fortune, another Wisdom Marine International ship, was also detained. In both cases, Maritime NZ detained the ship until wages were paid.

Mr Vredenburg said Maritime NZ is now considering what compliance actions we may take against Wisdom Marine International.

Maritime NZ took action under the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), which sets out minimum standards for the health, safety and welfare of seafarers, including conditions of employment. It also has provisions for complaints and investigations.

“We acted on information provided to us by the International Transport Workers’ Federation,” Mr Vredenburg said.

A Maritime Officer went on board the vessel to investigate. The Maritime Officer interviewed the ship’s master and crew, inspected documents and found evidence that the crew had not been paid.

When confronted with the evidence the ship’s master admitted the wages had not been paid. The Maritime Officer then took immediate action to detain the vessel.

“Maritime NZ applies maritime law irrespective of the ‘flag’ of the ship and the nationality of the crew,” Mr Vredenburg said.

Foreign-flag vessels must at all times comply with international conventions that New Zealand is party to, and in New Zealand waters within 12 nautical miles (22 km) of the coast, must also comply with the Maritime Transport Act.

Information about the detentions has been shared with other Asia-Pacific countries’ maritime authorities as part of the regional and international Port State Control (PSC) system that operates in our region under an agreement known as the “Tokyo MOU”.

The PSC system ensures foreign ships coming to ports can be inspected to ensure they comply with minimum safety, security and environmental protection requirements set down in international conventions, including the MLC.

The Tokyo MOU is an agreement between 20 countries in the Asia-Pacific Region. Its purpose is to help improve maritime safety. It does that by coordinating the gathering and sharing of PSC information to identify ships and operators that break the rules or are a risk. New Zealand was a founding member of the MOU and serves a leadership role in the organisation, which is based in Tokyo, Japan. Similar MOU’s are in place in other regions around the world to ensure global coverage.

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Man saved from burning fishing vessel off Westport

Source: Maritime New Zealand

A lone fisherman is lucky to be alive after the Rescue Coordination Centre NZ plucked him from a life raft after his boat caught fire.

RCCNZ received an alert from an EPIRB distress beacon at 11 am today, from the vessel located 12 miles west off Cape Foulwind, Westport.

The team sent the Greymouth search and rescue helicopter and airlifted the man from the life raft and took him to hospital for a medical check.

RCCNZ Watch Leader / Senior Search and Rescue Officer Geoff Lunt said, “It was a successful operation and we acted immediately. The satellite technology allows for alerts to be received within minutes of someone activating a distress beacon. The satellite detected the beacon at 11:00 am this morning and RCCNZ received the alert at 11:06 am.”

“If he hadn’t had his distress beacon he may still be out there now,” Mr Lunt said.

“We don’t know what communications he had on the fishing vessel, or if he had time to use the radio to make a distress call. The beacon allowed for a swift response and a successful rescue.”

Float-free EPIRB distress beacons that can activate automatically became compulsory on commercial fishing vessels from 1 January 2019. This requirement applies to those vessels between 7.5 metres and 24 metres operating outside enclosed waters.

RCCNZ is responsible for a search and rescue region which covers 30 million square km stretching from Antarctica almost to the equator.

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