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Peters’ claims rejected

Peters’ claims rejected

12 May 2014

GM Interislander, Thomas Davis, rejects claims made today by MP Winston Peters’ that KiwiRail has covered-up three incidents involving Interislander ferries.

Mr Davis says, “no cover up has occurred and in the case of one of Mr Peters’ claim that recent damage to the Stena Allegra propeller occurred because the ferry hit a wharf in Picton is quite simply, wrong”.

Mr Davis says safety is Interislander’s top priority and the organisation encourages a culture of full incident reporting as a matter of practice to maintain the organisation’s high safety record.

Mr Peters’ two other claims of a cover up also cannot be supported. It is also important to remember that reporting in itself doesn’t necessarily mean a safety incident has occurred.

“Investigations need to be undertaken to prove or disprove an allegation. The incidents Mr Peters’ alleges have been subject to normal investigation protocols and a full safety investigation has begun, including the opportunity for all parties to share incident details to establish if further action is required.

“Our internal investigation team is examining these alleged incidents, including taking steps to ensure our staff are treated appropriately through the investigation process.”

Mr Davis said KwiRail also report to Maritime New Zealand as a matter of course.

“As with every investigation, staff allegedly involved were stood down and as part of our standard procedures undertook drug and alcohol testing.”

Mr Davis said near miss incidents reports needed to be put into context. Reported incidents between January 2011 to December 2013 involving all Cook Strait shipping operators were as follows:

• Maritime New Zealand received 68 incidents of all types in that period for all ferry companies operating in the Cook Strait.

• Of these, 15 were reported as near miss, or close quarters incidents, for all ferry companies.

• Interislander was involved in 36 reported incidents, and 10 near misses.

• Interislander conducted 60% of all ferry crossings and has less than 50% of reported incidents.

“The wider context is that in that time Interislander sailed approximately 4600 of the annual 7200 crossings that take place across Cook Strait by all ferry companies. On that basis Interislander performance is relatively lower on an average crossings basis compared with all other ferry companies, but we always aim to continue to improve our performance,” Mr Davis said.

Ends.

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