Queen Charlotte Sound Incident Report Released
The principal cause of a ‘close quarters’ incident involving The Lynx and passenger launch Tutanekai in Queen Charlotte Sound on 29 January 2001, was the Tutanekai skipper’s failure to give way to the ferry as required under standard navigation rules, an MSA investigation has concluded.
The MSA’s report into the incident, released today, found that the skipper took no action to avoid The Lynx because he believed it to be some distance outside the voluntary shipping lane established in December 1999 by the Tory Channel Navigation Safety Group, and that The Lynx would alter course and return to the channel.
The report confirms that The Lynx was in fact just outside the shipping lane (by around 56 metres), and that this may have caused confusion in the mind of the skipper of the launch.
In commenting on the report, the Director of Maritime Safety, Russell Kilvington, said that while the skipper of the Tutanekai had exercised poor judgement in the incident, he was equally concerned and disappointed that The Lynx had not stayed within the voluntary channel agreed to by the Tory Channel Safety Group two and a half years ago.
“Tranz Rail, as a key member of the Group, has always given the shipping lane its full support”, Mr Kilvington said.
“The MSA will be talking to Tranz Rail to confirm that, other than in exceptional circumstances, all of its Cook Strait ferries will adhere to the voluntary code.”
“Although this is the only reported incident to raise questions of the potential for confusion between the standard navigation rules and the voluntary shipping lane, the MSA will also carry out a review, together with the Marlborough District Council (MDC) of the situation. This will examine whether the voluntary code should remain in place, be made mandatory, or is no longer appropriate.”
“If retained, the MSA and MDC will also look closely at ways of ensuring that the code is properly complied with,” Mr Kilvington said.