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Fatal Shipping Collision Inquiry Needed Says Brown

Media Release

20 October 2002

New Fatal Shipping Collision Inquiry Needed Says Brown

New Zealand First MP Peter Brown has asked the Transport Minister Paul Swain to set up a new independent inquiry into the fatal collision of the Sydney Express and the fishing vessel, Maria Luisa in December 1996.

The collision took place in the outer limits of the Port of Wellington. Five of the six personnel on the Maria Luisa were killed including the Captain.

Mr Brown, a Master Mariner, says that there was no formal inquiry at the time, simply a series of investigations by the Transport Accident Investigation Commission, the Maritime Safety Authority and another by the Police.

He says he has studied a file of the case after being approached by a former Wellington Harbour staff member who has been working with the families of the deceased men for five years in an effort to get the issue looked into on their behalf.

“I believe that the investigation undertaken may have drawn incorrect conclusions and as a result a disproportionate amount of blame was attributed to the Maria Luisa and its Captain.

“There was no opportunity for cross examination of witnesses at any of these investigations and no pilotage expertise was called upon by anyone.

“Frankly, I believe this is appalling. Justice has not been done, nor seen to be done.”

Mr Brown says he believes these men and their families are entitled to justice and “I intend to see they get it”.


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