Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Over-reliance on GPS results in prosecution

7 AUGUST 2008


Over-reliance on GPS results in successful prosecution

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) says the conviction of two Auckland boaties following a collision with a lit beacon sends a strong message about the dangers of over-relying on GPS and failing to keep a proper lookout.

Terry Fletcher, a farmer, and Christopher David Thomas, a company director, were last week convicted and fined $1,500 and $500 respectively in the Auckland District Court after admitting a charge each under the Maritime Transport Act of causing unnecessary danger to persons and or property. The men were each ordered to pay $250 in solicitor’s costs and court costs of $130.

The charges were brought by MNZ following an incident on February 17, 2007 when Fletcher’s 13.8-metre cabin cruiser Chardonnay collided with Illiomana beacon in Auckland Harbour. Fletcher, Thomas and several others had been out on the harbour watching the departure of the cruise liner Queen Elizabeth II. It was a dark night, but despite this, Fletcher, who was at the helm, was not using radar to assist his lookout.

Some time after 11pm, Fletcher passed the helm to Thomas while he went below, without giving him any instructions regarding the vessel’s position or course. Shortly afterwards, the Chardonnay, travelling at considerable speed, hit the beacon, whose light had a range of five nautical miles (9km). All those on board were rescued by the nearby launch Lady Argyle, but Fletcher suffered serious injuries requiring hospital treatment. The Chardonnay suffered major damage and was a total loss.

Both men subsequently said they thought they had already passed the beacon, and acknowledged their vision was impaired by the dark conditions and the lights from the many other vessels in the area.

Judge Paul ruled Fletcher was significantly more culpable than Thomas in operating the vessel with what he knew to be an unreliable GPS system, no radar and no paper chart, and also in not advising Thomas of this when he handed over control of the Chardonnay. He noted the handover procedure was poor and there were issues with the lookout procedure. The judge also accepted Thomas failed to slow down and fix his position before proceeding.

MNZ manager recreational boating Jim Lott says the case is a clear example of the need for skippers to maintain a vigilant lookout at all times, including using radar at night.

“Even in familiar waters, charts are needed to remind skippers of where dangers exist. GPS is a very useful aid to navigation but this serious accident reminds us all that it is not safe to rely solely on GPS.”

It also highlighted the need for good communication when handing over control of the vessel.

“The decision to hand over the helm without telling the helmsman the vessel’s course and position in this case could have resulted in a fatality,” Mr Lott says.

“There were a number of other vessels on the harbour that night, and if the Chardonnay had collided with one of them the consequences could have been far worse. It is essential to slow down to a safe speed in harbours where visibility is affected by background lights on shore.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Back Again: Government Approves TPP11 Mandate

The Government has approved a negotiating mandate for Trans-Pacific Partnership 11 (TPP11), which will ensure New Zealand businesses remain competitive in overseas markets.

Trade Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand will be pushing for the minimal number of changes possible to the original TPP agreement, something that the remaining TPP11 countries have agreed on. More>>

ALSO:

.

 
 

Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>

ALSO:

Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>

ALSO:

Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty: Agreement In Principle Signed With Moriori

“The Crown acknowledges Moriori was left virtually landless from 1870, hindering its cultural, social and economic development. The Crown also acknowledges its contribution to the myths that the people of Moriori were racially inferior and became extinct." More>>

ALSO:

Susan Devoy: Call For Inquiry Into State Abuse Reaches UN

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is in Geneva and has asked a United Nations committee to urge the New Zealand government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions. More>>

ALSO:

(Not National): Cross-Party Agreement On Pike River Re-Entry

The commitment was signed this afternoon by the leaders of Labour, United Future, The Maori Party, and the Green Party and, together with the earlier commitment by New Zealand First, means that there is now a Parliamentary majority behind the families’ fight for truth and justice. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election