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Tory Channel Discussion Document Released

The group set up to look at navigational safety in Tory Channel (Marlborough Sounds) has released its discussion document, and is now seeking feedback from the public.

"This report raises the issues which have been investigated by the group, suggests some solutions and is open for public debate," said the Director of Maritime Safety, Russell Kilvington.

"The report represents the concerns of at least 13 different groups of users of Tory Channel and we are seeking to find solutions that make the area safe for all users."

Suggestions made in the report include investigating whether or not:

* there should be an identifiable shipping lane in the area and whether this should be publicised and included in charts of the area

* a maximum speed of 35 knots is appropriate for large commercial ships in certain areas

* large commercial ships should be prevented from overtaking each other in certain areas of the channel

* there should be a dedicated VHF radio channel serving the Tory Channel and Queen Charlotte Sound to advise of estimated times of arrival for large ships at certain points.

* All vessels transiting Tory Channel be required to make a call on VHF radio 10 minutes before their estimated time of arrival at a certain point in the channel

The group also identified the need for specific education on navigational safety and sought feedback on different ways to and types of material to use to meet this need. Suggestions included signs at boat ramps, brochures at visitor destinations, radio broadcasts, distribution of safety information by Coastguard, increasing harbour patrols, supplying information to charter and kayak operators and developing an internet website.

The group also looked at whether or not accidents and incidents in the area needed to be more rigorously reported and analysed, whether pleasure boat accident forms should be made more widely available, if so how, and whether or not all craft should carry some method of identification.

On the size, speed and number of fast ferries, the group questioned what the maximum size, speed and number of such vessels should be.

"The group welcomes comment on the report and views on the options it presents, by 17 September 1999," said Mr Kilvington.

ENDS....

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