Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

TAIC Easy Rider Inquiry: Urgent Safety Recommendation

TAIC Easy Rider Inquiry: Urgent Safety Recommendation

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission has issued an urgent safety recommendation emerging from its continuing inquiry into the capsize and sinking of the fishing boat Easy Rider off Stewart Island on 15 March. Eight people died and one person survived the tragedy.
 
“There appear to have been stability limitations with the Easy Rider which will be shared by other boats of the same design,” says the Commission’s Chief Investigator of Accidents Captain Tim Burfoot.  “The boats can be operated safely within these limitations, but owners and skippers need to know of them first to do so.”
 
“While these limitations have been known previously, it may be that information has not been passed on over the years with changes of owners, skippers and surveyors for these boats.  The Commission has asked the Director of Maritime New Zealand to ensure that other boats of the same design are located and their owners are advised of this, and he’s undertaken to take the necessary action.
 
The Commission believes there may be at least five boats of nine boats of the same design built nearly 40 years ago still in service.
 
“Urgent safety recommendations are a mechanism by which the Commission can ensure matters that appear to need attention can be addressed when they are found, rather than waiting for issue of an interim or final report.  
 
“I have to stress that the Commission has not yet made a finding as to whether the issue highlighted today contributed to the Easy Rider accident, but it is of concern.  Accidents and their impacts typically result from a range of factors coming together,”  Captain Burfoot says.
 
The Commission hopes to publish a final report into the tragedy by about March 2013.
 
Urgent Safety Recommendation
 
Urgent recommendation
 
Issued under section 9(1) of the Transport Accident Investigation Commission Act 1990
 
At about 2000 on 14 March 2012, the fishing vessel Easy Rider departed Bluff for Great South Cape Island off the west coast of Stewart Island.  The skipper, 2 crew members and 6 passengers were on board.  The passengers were to be offloaded at Great South Island, where they were to prepare for the upcoming mutton-bird harvest.  The skipper then intended to travel to his fishing grounds to engage in commercial fishing.
 
The weather at the time that the vessel sailed was described by local fishermen as poor.  It was forecast to deteriorate further with the passing of a frontal weather system across the Foveaux Strait area.  The wind was forecast to increase to about 40 to 50 knots from the northwest before easing to 15 knots from the south west after the weather front had passed.
 
During 14 March the skipper loaded Easy Rider with ice and bait in the fish hold, and loaded cod and crayfish pots and other associated fishing gear on the deck.  The skipper then loaded stores, equipment and personal effects for the ‘mutton-birders’.  The stores and equipment covered most of the aft fishing deck and in places was stacked as high as the roof of the wheelhouse.
 
At about 0003 on 15 March the Easy Rider was north of the Bishop and Clerks Islands at the western end of the Foveaux Strait in an area known for strong variable currents and turbulent water.  The Easy Rider was engulfed by a large wave in this area and capsized, remaining afloat for about 2 hours before sinking.  The only survivor was one crew member who was sitting out on deck at the time.  He described the wave swamping the deck and the vessel heeling violently to port and capsizing.  4 bodies have been recovered and 4 are still missing.
 
The Easy Rider was believed to be built in about 1975 by Billingham to the ‘Owenga’ design for use in the Chatham Islands fisheries.  The vessel was constructed of steel and was about 11 metres overall length with a beam of about 3.55 metres.  It was powered by a single diesel engine.  There was thought to have been 9 of its class built.  Four (including the Easy Rider) have been lost at sea over the years for differing reasons including one that was overwhelmed by a large wave, and 5 are thought to be still in use.  One of these 5 is currently being used for commercial fishing out of Bluff.
 
The Commission is in the process of firstly modelling the Easy Rider’s ‘light ship’ stability from data obtained for other vessels of the Owenga class, and secondly estimating its actual stability on the accident voyage.
 
The Commission has evidence that since the Owenga class fishing vessels were built, authorities have recognised that they had limited reserve stability and could become unstable if too much weight was loaded on deck.  In one case the surveyor recommended that a plaque be placed in the wheelhouse warning skippers not to load too much on deck.  The Commission has made preliminary calculations that support this view.
 
Thirty seven years after the Owenga class of fishing vessels were built and with successive changes in ownership, it is possible that the current owners of the remaining vessels may not be aware of the special stability characteristics of their vessels.
 
The Commission recommends that the Director of Maritime New Zealand trace the whereabouts of the remaining Owenga class fishing vessels and ensure that the appropriate stability calculations have been made for each vessel and alert the owners to any special stability characteristics they should be considering in the daily operation of their vessels. (020/12)
 
On 1 May 2012, the General Manager, Maritime Services of Maritime New Zealand replied:
 
The Director has commenced a process to identify all Owenga class fishing vessels to assess stability characteristics and discuss associated operational requirements with the owners of the vessels.  It is expected that this process will be conducted by the end of May 2012.
 
The Director is also assessing whether there are other vessels that may have similar stability characteristics requiring attention.  It is intended that this assessment process be completed by the end of June 2012, with decisions as to further action being made at that time.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

New Reports: Flood Risk From Rain And Sea Under Climate Change

One report looks at what would happen when rivers are flooded by heavy rain and storms, while the other examines flooding exposure in coastal and harbour areas and how that might change with sea-level rise.

Their findings show that across the country almost 700,000 people and 411,516 buildings worth $135 billion are presently exposed to river flooding in the event of extreme weather events...

There is near certainty that the sea will rise 20-30 cm by 2040. By the end of the century, depending on whether global greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, it could rise by between 0.5 to 1.1 m, which could add an additional 116,000 people exposed to extreme coastal storm flooding. More>>

ALSO:

 
 

Gordon Campbell: On The Commerce Commission Fuel Report

The interim Commerce Commission report on the fuel industry will do nothing to endear the major oil companies to the New Zealand public... More>>

ALSO:

Emergency Govt Bill: Overriding Local Licensing For The Rugby

“It’s pretty clear some clubs are having difficulty persuading their district licensing committees to grant a special licence to extend their hours for this obviously special event, and so it makes sense for Parliament to allow clubs to meet a community desire." More>>

ALSO:

Leaving Contract Early: KiwiBuild Programme Losing Another Top Boss

Ms O'Sullivan began a six-month contract as head of KiwiBuild Commercial in February, but the Housing Ministry has confirmed she has resigned and will depart a month early to take up a new job. More>>

ALSO:

Proposed National Policy Statement: Helping Our Cities Grow Up And Out

“We need a new approach to planning that allows our cities to grow up, especially in city centres and around transport connections. We also have to allow cities to expand in a way that protects our special heritage areas, the natural environment and highly productive land." More>>

ALSO:

Ombudsman's Report: Ngāpuhi Elder 'Shocked' By Conditions At Ngawha Prison

A prominent Ngāpuhi elder is shocked to find inmates at Ngawha Prison are denied water and forced to relieve themselves in the exercise yard... Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has released a report highly critical of conditions at the Northland prison. More>>

ALSO:

Promises: Independent Election Policy Costing Unit A Step Closer

The creation of an entity to provide political parties with independent and non-partisan policy costings is a step closer today, according to Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Associate Finance Minister James Shaw. More>>

ALSO:

School's In: Primary And Intermediate Principals Accept New Offer

Primary and intermediate school principals have voted to accept a new settlement from the Ministry of Education, which includes entrenched pay parity with secondary principals. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA On 'Rawshark' Investigation: Multiple Police Failings In Hager Searches Confirmed

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that the Police's unlawful search of Nicky Hager's property in October 2014 resulted from an unwitting neglect of duty and did not amount to misconduct by any individual officer... More>>

ALSO:

Broadcasting Standards: Decisions On Coverage Of Mosque Attacks

The Authority upheld one of these complaints, finding that the use of extensive excerpts from the alleged attacker’s livestream video on Sky News New Zealand had the potential to cause significant distress to audiences in New Zealand, and particularly to the family and friends of victims, and the wider Muslim community. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels