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Maritime NZ Lookout Warning

( The sentencing today of a skipper who drove his launch into a trimaran with a family of six on board near Waikawa Bay last year highlights the importance of keeping a proper lookout, Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) says.

In the Blenheim District Court today, Stuart Leck pleaded guilty to one charge under Section 65(1) of the Maritime Transport Act 1964 of operating a ship, the motor launch Krystana, in a manner which caused unnecessary danger or risk to persons onboard the trimaran Jewd, in that he failed to keep a proper lookout as required by Maritime Rule 22.5.

Mr Leck was convicted and fined $2500 and ordered to pay reparations to the family of $5000.

On 14 April 2009, Mr Leck was driving his 14 metre motor launch Krystana from Waikawa Bay to Lochmara Bay in Queen Charlotte Sound. He left the marina and rounded the point known as “The Snout” where he collided into Jewd, a 6.8 metre trimaran, with six family members on board.

The skipper of Jewd was thrown overboard while the rest of the family were thrown off balance. Two were admitted to hospital.

MNZ manager of maritime investigations Steve van der Splinter said the skipper acknowledged he had not seen Jewd before he collided with it. He had radar on board but had it switched off as he only used it at night and in restricted visibility. Krystana was travelling at between 12-13 knots when the collision happened.

“It is vital that skippers always keep a proper lookout and are even more vigilant when in high traffic areas.

“In this case, the skipper was in an area where it was always likely he would encounter other vessels.

“It is the skipper’s responsibility to take steps to ensure safe navigation at all times – in this case they included using the electronic equipment at his disposal and travelling at slower speeds until he was certain the way was clear.

“Had Mr Leck been keeping a good lookout he would have been able to see Jewd approaching and taken the appropriate action to avoid a collision.”

Mr van der Splinter said while Mr Leck had been travelling within the speed limit, he may have needed to adjust his speed to take into account the likelihood of meeting other vessels.

“A safe speed is one that takes into account factors such as traffic, weather, visibility and vessel characteristics.”

Mr van der Splinter said as the family onboard Jewd had been keeping a vigilant lookout, they were able to make an alteration to their course to reduce the impact angle. However, as they were travelling under sail alone, they were unable to change course as quickly as Krystana would have been.

Mr van der Splinter said every member of the family on board Jewd had been wearing lifejackets when the collision took place which helped reduce impact injuries and aided floatation while in the water awaiting rescue.

Media Release 24 March 2010 from Maritime New Zealand.
Telephone 04 499 7318



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