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Water taxi skipper fined

MAY 12 2006

Water taxi skipper fined

The skipper of a Havelock-based water taxi vessel, who carried out 27 commercial trips during September and October last year while holding no maritime qualifications, was sentenced in the Blenheim District Court today.

Clayton Lloyd Douglas, skipper of Tamure, was fined $2,800 and ordered to pay costs of $1,680 for operating commercially without holding a current Local Launch Operator’s certificate (LLO) and causing unnecessary danger or risk on 19 October 2005 when his vessel ran aground while ferrying five passengers between Havelock and Pelorus Sound.

Mr Douglas followed the wrong global positioning system track on the evening voyage and ran his vessel aground several metres up a small beach in Paradise Bay, Hikapu Reach. There were no serious injuries following the accident, although one passenger suffered a bruised cheek.

Maritime New Zealand charged Mr Douglas for operating commercially without holding an LLO and causing unnecessary danger or risk to persons or property following the accident on 19 October.

Mr Douglas told Maritime New Zealand he was confused about the vessel’s location at the time of the accident because it was very dark. He admitted he was aware of the requirement to hold a LLO certificate and advised he had unsuccessfully attempted to obtain a certificate on 8 October 2005.

To obtain a LLO certificate a person must have six months sea service and pass an examination.

Director of Maritime New Zealand, Russell Kilvington, said today Mr Douglas had unnecessarily put lives at risk and the Court’s decision sent a clear reminder to all commercial seafarers about their obligations to comply with Maritime Rules.

“Mr Douglas took the lives of fee paying passengers, who therefore had a right to expect that he was both fully qualified and competent, into his own hands and skippered a vessel without holding a Local Launch Operator’s Certificate,” said Mr Kilvington.

“Holding an LLO certificate is equivalent to holding a motor vehicle licence – you don’t jump behind the wheel of a car unless you have a licence and it’s no different for commercial seafarers,” he said.


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