This whole debacle, detailed in the article below, deserves closer scrutiny.
The ship was in what some would say, an unsafe anchorage, after being ordered out of Port New Plymouth by the Harbourmaster because the port could not provide a suitable safe berth in the prevailing weather. Did the Harbourmaster or pilot give instructions about where to anchor or not to anchor? Did the pilot not remain on the ship and if not why not?
It appears that Port Taranaki were notified on 24 May that the ship was dragging its anchor. Did they notify MNZ and if not why not? Why were the tugs not deployed when asked to go on standby? Any Harbourmaster worth his salt would not sit back and wait, knowing that a ship outside his port was in difficulties and dragging anchor onto a lee shore.
The whole episode does not seem as simple as the non seafarer MNZ Director states in his press release. His main concern and the subject of the court case was that it was not reported officially by the Master. Does he think that after having his ship drift onto a reef, probably because of mechnical failure, that he then took himself off to bed until the storm abated.
The Master’s main concern would be to refloat the vessel, assess and secure the damage and take any other action that would mitigate any polution. As he had already reported the incident to shore authorities, the last thing that he would be thinking about was to make an official report to Maritime New Zealand who, if he was not a regular visitor to New Zealand, had never heard of them.
The following article by LYN HUMPHREYS was published in the Taranki Daily News.
The lives of 21 crew were put at risk in a potential Rena-type disaster off New Plymouth when a large cargo vessel took on water after running aground on a reef last month.
The incident has prompted a strong message from Maritime New Zealand.
“This incident posed a potential threat to the 21 crew and could have had a serious impact on the environment, and yet no effort was made for some days to notify Maritime New Zealand,” MNZ director Keith Manch said yesterday.
“That is simply unacceptable and cannot be tolerated,” he said.
The potential crisis was revealed in documents before the New Plymouth District Court where the ship’s captain pleaded guilty to failing to inform MNZ that his vessel, the 77 metre Lake Triview, sustained multiple holes in its hull after getting stuck on the reef off New Plymouth on the night of Saturday, May 24.
The Lake Triview first dragged its anchor that night, drifting close to shore. It grounded on the reef off Waiwhakaiho.
It was holed multiple times and took on water after managing to use its engines to propel its way free.
When inspected in port the Lake Triview was found to have 12 holes in its hull.
The captain, Rolando Legaspi, a 63-year-old Filipino national, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to failing to notify MNZ of the grounding of the vessel. Legaspi did not appear in court for sentencing yesterday morning, instead asking to be represented by his lawyer Andrew Laurenson.
Community magistrate Robyn Paterson fined Legaspi $2000 with court costs of $130 after he was given credit for his early guilty plea and for finally revealing the full story of what happened during an interview with maritime inspectors.
The maximum penalty for an individual is $5000.
Manch said the sentence should send a strong message to those responsible for vessels operating around New Zealand.
Details of the grounding were not received by MNZ until late in the evening of May 28, he said.
“It is essential that Maritime New Zealand is notified of incidents as soon as possible to ensure measures are taken immediately to protect human life and the environment,” Manch said.
In court, MNZ prosecutor Shane Elliott, of Auckland, said the incident, which occurred in rough seas, was viewed as serious.
The captain knew water was leaking into the hull but failed to notify MNZ as he was required to do under the Maritime Safety Act.
Notifying any such incident was of paramount importance because it enabled authorities to respond quickly and appropriately to avoid any risk, such as occurred with the Rena, he said.
Court documents show the captain has had his master’s ticket since 1980. The Singapore-flagged vessel was carrying a part-cargo of soya meal to be offloaded at Port Taranaki. It is owned by Tri View Shipping Ltd.
MNZ said the vessel would be detained at Port Taranaki pending arrangements for repair of the damage.
TIMELINE LAKE TRIVIEW GROUNDING
May 24: 11am. Lake Triview anchors about 2.1 nautical miles (3.9 kilometres) off Port Taranaki. It is carrying a partial load of soya meal for Port Taranaki. Vessel has draught of 7 metres.
May 24: 5.30pm. Anchor drags and vessel moves slowly towards shore.
May 24: 8pm. Captain orders anchor raised. Mechanical failure prevents this. Captain asks Port Taranaki to put two tugs on standby. These are not deployed.
May 24: 9.38pm. Vessel runs aground on a rocky reef in about 7m of water. Anchor is successfully retrieved. Vessel remains grounded on reef for about 5 minutes. Freed using its own engines. Port Taranaki advises Maritime New Zealand the vessel’s anchor dragged.
May 26: MNZ seeks details. MNZ is not told of the grounding.
May 27: Vessel berths. Inspection by divers identifies 12 breaches of the ballast tanks as a result of grounding. No oil spill detected.
June 12: Vessel still detained at Port Taranaki pending arrangements for repair of the damage.
Ian Dymock, the retired seafarer who has tirelessly sought recognition for the Merchant Navy personnel, especially those who served during the Second World War has been awarded the Queens Service Medal (QSM) it was announced today.
Maritime New Zealand have detained a ship at Port Taranaki and charged its master after the ship was damaged in rough seas last weekend.
Singaporean cargo ship Lake Triview suffered damage to its hull last Saturday night when it dragged anchor off the coast of New Plymouth in stormy conditions.
Port Taranaki was closed to shipping at the weekend because of the weather, and ships were sent to sea.
Maritime New Zealand spokesman Steve Rendle said the ship’s master was charged under the Maritime Transport Act.
“It requires that Maritime New Zealand be notified of any damage as soon as practicable.”
“The ship has been damaged, then headed back out to sea, re-anchored and then berthed as normal on Tuesday.”
The ship’s master will appear in the New Plymouth District Court next Wednesday, Rendle said.
A spokesman for the ship’s agent, Phoenix Shipping Agencies Ltd, said they had no comment on the damage or charge being laid.
The Taranaki Daily News understands the ship ran into a rock reef and the damage included at least 12 holes, one of which was big enough for a diver to fit through.
No oil spill was detected and none of the ship’s soya meal cargo was lost, Rendle said. “I have had no reports of injury.”
Rendle said the 177 metre-long Lake Triview had been detained until repairs were made. It is understood this could take up to three months.
An employee of the ship’s Canadian management company, Fairmont Shipping Ltd, said a representative for protection and indemnity was in Taranaki dealing with the affairs.
“It was an unfortunate incident, due to the weather,” he said from Vancouver yesterday. “There was no pollution to the ocean and there is no further concern of environmental damage.”
Port Taranaki chief executive Roy Weaver said it was a busy time for the port and having a ship laid up was “not ideal.”
“It is being held safely on site,” Weaver said.
“It is still in port laid up awaiting the various parties to do what they need to.”
A charge bought against the Master of the SANTA REGINA of endangering passengers and crew during a return trip to Picton was dropped by the judge in the Wellington Court this afternoon and the jury dismissed.
After listening to this trial drag out during the past six days I am wondering if there is a vendetta by Maritime New Zealand against our profession. It is well known that they do not like the term Captain and prohibit any employee who may have the experience and qualifications to call himself Captain to prefix his name with the title.
Some of the hearing concerned what happened before the minor berthing collision. We had to watch a real time video taken from the AIS of the berthing manoeuvre. Surely this had nothing to do with the charge and this type of forum is not the ideal place to discuss such technical matters. Doctors who make a mistake with an operation are usually judged by their peers as happens with many other professions.
The original charge included not reporting the accident as soon as practical but this was dropped before the trial began.
These minor collisions (allusions) are a frequent occurrences at ports throughout the world. They are similar to a hard landing by a jet. How hard does it have to be before it is reported? A cabin attendant sitting next to me during a hard landing replied when I commented about one “He always does it like that”.
Until about 10 years ago this type of accident would be reported to and handled by the Harbourmaster who was in all ports the senior pilot who had spent many years berthing and un-berthing ships. Sadly this is now not the case.
The crown likened it to the RENA grounding by stating that big things start from small things. They were reminded by the defence that a 1.85 metre gash 50 mm wide was not quite the same as running a container ship onto a reef at 18 knots.
That the Master had not seen the small tear in the shell plating when he and the chief engineer inspected the area after berthing involved a number of witnesses. A badly made video showing how different brands of torches and car head lights could light up the ships side was shown to the jury in a one hour show made by a road crash and fire investigator. I thought he was a torch salesman.
A weather forecaster even offered opinion on how ferries entered Marlborough Sounds in stormy conditions although on the day in question the highest recorded wind speed was only 42 knots.
It disturbs me that our profession is administered in New Zealand by such an inept Government Department and whose treatment of a senior officer will not win them any friends. It is little wonder that many fine New Zealand seafarers are now working overseas.
The cost of this investigation and subsequent trial must run into many thousands of dollars which will be borne by the taxpayer.
Captain Henderson had to wait nearly three years to have his day in court which is unacceptable.
Members who recently crossed the bar:
Captain Christopher S. Morris – Tauranga Branch on 21st September 2013;
Captain Ronald A. Colebrook – Wellington Branch on 22nd September 2013;
Captain Robert Wyld – Tauranga Branch on 30th January 2014
Captain Hugh Coates – Christchurch Branch on 26th February 2014
Captain William A. Siddal – Christchurch Branch on 27th March 2014
The trial started today of the captain of a Cook Strait ferry which carried passengers to Picton and back to Wellington with a 3.5 metre gash in the side after a collision with another ship during a stormy berthing.
John Henderson, 67, a master of ship who lives in Invercargill, has pleaded not guilty to being the holder of a maritime document, a certificate of competency, and, being in charge of the Santa Regina, doing an act that caused unnecessary danger to the crew or passengers between April 26 and April 27, 2011.
Crown prosecutor Ian Murray told a Wellington District Court jury the Santa Regina was sailed from Picton to Wellington on April 26, 2011 in high winds and rain.
Henderson was the master of the ship, employed by Strait Shipping.
During an attempt to berth at Glasgow wharf the Santa Regina was blown sideways and collided with another ship, the Southern Prospector, and the wharf.
Mr Murray said two holes were torn in the hull, a minor one of about 12cm which was repaired and a 3.5m gash which breached the hull and was not noticed during a torchlight inspection.
The Santa Regina was then sailed back to Picton and returned to Wellington with the gash in place which was not seen until a member of the Wellington Harbourmasters team spotted it.
Mr Murray said during the sailings there was storm warning in place for Cook Strait.
He told the jury the problem was the inadequate inspection of the ship after the collision which led to two more sailings putting the crew and passengers at unnecessary risk.
Henderson’s lawyer Michael Reed, QC, told the jury the size of the gash was disputed and the defence said it was 1.85m and was cosmetic rather than structural.
He said no water entered the hole during either crossing and at no time was there any risk of the ship sinking or risk to the passengers or crew.
Mr Reed said Henderson was a very experienced captain who would never have sailed if he thought there had been any risk.
The trial is expected to take the rest of the week.© Fairfax NZ News
Ferry captain denies risky sailing