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Man sentenced after certification breaches

Media Release

8 November 2012

Man sentenced to community service after certification breaches

A man has been sentenced to 140 hours’ community work and a company penalised $7500 in commercial gain after a series of certification breaches.

Valentine Croon Junior and the Nancy Kay II Fishing Company Limited each pleaded guilty to 34 charges brought under the Maritime Transport Act 1994, in the Chatham Islands District Court on Tuesday (6 November).

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) brought the charges under Section 68(1) of the Act, concerning the operation of the fishing vessel Nancy Kay II without holding a Safe Ship Management (SSM) certificate on 34 occasions.

In order to operate lawfully as a commercial ship, a vessel must be issued with a SSM certificate. Mr Croon had arranged for the Nancy Kay II to be surveyed in March 2011, before the expiry of its certificate in October 2011. The survey noted a number of deficiencies – namely welding and replacing the propeller shaft - which had to be addressed before a new SSM could be issued.

The Nancy Kay II was then used for commercial crayfishing through December 2011 to February 2012, and was detained by MNZ in March 2012. Mr Croon stated the welding had been completed and the propeller shaft replaced and the vessel would go back “in survey” after this.

However, when the vessel was inspected the following week, several new deficiencies were identified, and some were still outstanding from the initial survey in March 2011.

MNZ Maritime Investigator Domonic Venz said the sentencing sends an important message to the fishing industry.

“Maritime laws are in place to help keep people safe. Compliance with the law isn’t an option – it’s a cornerstone of the fishing industry and there’s no room for those with cavalier attitudes towards safety.”

The Nancy Kay II Fishing Company Limited also had solicitor’s fees of $2000 and court costs of $132.89 imposed on it.

The maximum penalties under the Act are a fine of $10,000 or 12 months’ imprisonment for the defendant, and a fine of $100,000 under each charge for the defendant company.

ENDS

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