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Chatham Islands fisherman convicted

9 August 2013 | Time: 2pm

Chatham Islands fisherman convicted

Chatham Islands fisherman Stephen George Page and the company of which he is sole director, Flinders Fisheries Company Ltd, have been convicted of operating the fishing vessel Equinox without an appropriate current maritime document.

After guilty pleas, Mr Page was sentenced on 6 August in Chatham Islands District Court to 90 hours’ community work; and Flinders Fisheries Company Ltd fined $5000.

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) prosecuted after the Equinox was photographed in September 2011 by an RNZAF P3 Orion when the vessel was operating 21 nautical miles (38.9km) off the east coast of the Chatham Islands. The vessel’s Safe Ship Management certificate restricted its operation to 12 nautical miles (22.2km) from the coast.

Previously, in 2010, Mr Page and Flinders Fisheries Company Ltd pleaded guilty to 15 charges of operating another vessel, Flinders Bay III, without a current SSM certificate and the company was fined a total of $15,800. (No additional penalty was imposed on Mr Page.)

MNZ Regional Compliance Manager (Central) Pelin Davison said the latest prosecution should send a clear message to fishing operators.

“Safety at sea must be a priority for everyone involved in the fishing industry. The SSM certification process is designed to ensure all commercially operated vessels operate under a safety management system, are correctly equipped, and the crew appropriately qualified.

“The operational limits show what area a ship is equipped to operate safely within. Going outside those limits poses a risk to the safety of the crew and cannot be tolerated.”

www.maritimenz.govt.nz

ENDS

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