Tauranga Newsletter

Some items from the March 2011 Tauranga Branch Newsletter

Branch Notes

Our last annual barbecue at Ted and Rochelle’s proved another success and all hands enjoying excellent weather and a delightful meal. The event was tinged with a moment sadness as our Warden presented Ted and Rochelle with a farewell gift and thanked them for their many years of hosting our annual barbecue. Finding another venue of such homeliness and quality will be a very difficult task. Bob and Rae Wyld have successfully moved into their new home and are still having great fun cutting down the amount of gear and furniture, they didn’t realise they had.Our best wishes go to them for a happy and peaceful sojourn in Hodgson House villas in Botanical Road.

Princess Ashika
The families of those killed in the sinking of ferry Princess Ashika have been offered government compensation, provided they drop all civil claims. The vessel sank on Aug 5 last year, killing 74 people. The vessel’s owners, Shipping Corp of Polynesia, and four individuals are facing trial on more than 40 charges, including manslaughter by negligence. The government said it had always intended to offer compensation because it owns SCP. This has now been set at $80,000 per affected family, but it will only be made available if 30 claims already made in the Tongan Supreme Court are dropped.

Marine Star 11
A Hamilton fishing company and its skipper have been busted by Maritime New Zealand after its boat was spotted fishing more than 200 nautical miles, or 370 kilometres, further off the coast than it should have. W C Seafoods, which is in liquidation, was convicted and discharged in Hamilton District Court after admitting two charges of allowing a skipper, who did not hold the appropriate maritime qualification, to operate its commercial fishing vessel, Marine Star Il, in October 2009. Marine Star 11 was photographed more than 300 nautical miles, or 555 kilometres, out to sea by the Royal New Zealand Air Force during a joint investigation into non-compliant operators. It was permitted only to operate out to 100 nautical miles. It was then discovered the skipper, David James Abbott, held only an inshore launch master’s certificate, which allowed him to operate vessels up to 20 metres in length within 22 kilometres of the coast. Abbott was convicted and fined $2000 after admitting charges of operating the ship without holding an appropriate qualification and outside the specified safety limits.
NZ Shipping Gazette

It is with much regret that we report the death of Captain George Carter who died at Mercy Hospice on Saturday 12 February
2011, Born in the Orkney Islands in 1933 George retired from the Union Steam Ship Company in 1992. I rang him soon after to find out a little about him and it soon became apparent that. his career was less strait forward than most. The following account was printed in our newsletter at the time. George’s seagoing career was delayed somewhat by a call up for compulsory Military training in the. UK. and was followed by a stint in the Korean War. He was 20 years old when he obtained his first job at sea as deck hand on a seine fishing boat in the Orkney Isles. He gave this up to come ashore soon after getting married to Violet and took the opportunity to emigrate’ to New Zealand as a farm worker in 1956, working on two farms in the Ngatea area and at various other shore jobs in Auckland before resuming seafaring as a trawler deck hand in the Auckland fishing fleet. In the early sixties. George got a launch master’s ticket and then a job as skipper of a small Auckland tow boat for about three years, and during that time he passed for a Masters. Small Home Trade Certificate. A last fling at fishing -down at the Chathams during the crayfish boom of the late sixties followed and on his return he joined the Anchor Companies ship “Puriri” as AB. After completing a correspondence course for Home Trade Mate he rejoined the same vessel as 2nd mate in 1970 and was promised mate at the end of the year. While serving with the Anchor Company he was seconded to the Golden Bay Cement Company to serve as Second Mate in the MV Golden Bay and also to New Zealand Cement Holdings of Westport as Mate of MV Guardian Carrier. He got Home Trade Master in 1972 and served as Mate on various Anchor Company vessels thereafter. In 1977 George decided to try for a Foreign Going certificate. He got Part A Second Mate that year with Part B to follow in 1978, and none too soon as it turned out. “The small coasters,” he said, were being gradually phased out and the Titoki was the last of the old Anchor Company ships. “I was transferred or evicted, was the term used by some of us to the parent Union Steam Ship Company in 1978 along with several other Anchor Company employees.
George served as Third Mate on the Union Co. paper ships until 1981 when he got Mates F.G and then as second mate , mostly on
tankers, but also on the other company vessels as the need arose. He passed for Masters F.G. in 1988. In October this year; he accepted voluntary redundancy after 22½ years with the Company. Surely a case for the Guinness Book of records. I can’t help thinking there must be a few more stories amongst that lot. At 59, George considers himself only semi retired and will still accept short term, part time. relieving at temporary appointments. He admits to being a man of many hats and says he doesn’t mind putting his hand to a bit of carpentry. We offer our very sincere sympathy to Violet and her family
Auckland Newsletter

New Zealands Merchant Fleet. NOT
The second Christchurch earthquake has again highlighted our terrible lack of coastal shipping. The naval supply ship Canterbury was the only available means for the carriage of heavy equipment, which she is not really suited for. Had she been overseas we would
have had nothing for the job. There can be little doubt, that without a viable merchant fleet
New Zealand is placed at great risk from natural and man made disasters.
One of our ports at least is improving its handling capacity to handle larger container vessels
up to 5,000 TEU. While this is commendable, the overseas container giants are becoming more unwilling to call at countries which cannot handle their larger capacity vessels and in NZ they are hoping to introduce only two hub ports at present, one in the NI and one in the SI as an interim solution. It is rumoured that NZ will eventually become spoke of a larger hub operating out of Melbourne or Sydney, where 10,000+ TEU vessels can be handled. If this becomes a reality we will need to ship our cargo to the regional hub, which, at present, can only be carried by overseas interests, who will no doubt demand top dollar for their service, if they are going to provide such a service at all. They will only require a port in the North Island and one in the South Island, even for such a local service.
This will mean that all cargo will be shipped by road at an ever increasing and enormous cost and our atmosphere will suffer as a consequence. Maersk have ordered their first 10 Triple E Class carrying 18,000 TEU. We could never service vessels of this size. No doubt the powers that be will cry—shipping is too costly, despite having been proven to be the cheapest form of transport by a long way, we will be held to ransom by the unions and their demands.
Wallowing in the past failures of the maritime industry will not provide this country with a shipping arm that it desperately needs.
Is this not an opportunity to create a modern built and crewed entity that could rival the best in the world and would enter NZ into a new era. The crewing of these modern vessels, would require a smaller work force which would be fully trained as a well paid multipurpose unit equipped to handle, run and service modern hi-tech equipment. No longer could we envision a shipping service run on outdated and outmoded traditions. Are we really prepared to move into the exciting future of our maritime history. Labour conditions at present would indicate an abundant pool of young people ready to train for employment in a modern seagoing work force.
New Zealand used to have the biggest shipping company in the Southern Hemisphere and had some of the most modern vessels of the times, what has happened?, you may well ask, to put an island nation in such a vulnerable position. The Company of Master Mariners exists to promote the following objects:-
To form a body of master mariners in New Zealand for the promotion of professional, technical and social activities and to further the interests of master mariners.
To promote the professionalism of all holders of master mariner qualifications.
To afford advice and assistance to master mariners visiting New Zealand.
To foster and maintain full and fraternal co-operation between members and the Merchant Navy.
To hold experienced master mariners available to act as members of, or appear before Royal Commissions, Courts of E n q u i r y ,
Committees or boards of all descriptions, and to encourage master mariners to act as advisers and consultants on all matters affecting the Merchant Navy, and generally to give expression to the reasoned view and considered opinions of practical seamen on any matters concerning the Merchant Navy or in any way concerning the sea.
To ensure that the Government of the day recognises the input that is available from the Company and to assert its expertise in matters concerning any changes to maritime law and to operational standards. In this regard all directions and communications
Shall be issued only through the office of the Master.
With hardly any NZ Merchant Navy left, who are we supporting and— Why are we still here!!
Guy Ed.

‘A Very Fishy Business’ By Ian Clarke

As a ship surveyor, Ralph travels to the Coromandel Peninsula to assist Captain Rothfall, a marine inspector, with an investigation into a local fishing vessel that is feared lost. The inspector’s abrasive manner makes him unpopular with the townsfolk, and when his frozen body is found in the fishing company’s refrigerated chamber, suspicion falls on Ralph….
A Very Fishy Business is published by National Pacific Press @ $30.

A Bay of Plenty fishing boat is long overdue, as is this psychological page-turner.
A Very Fishy Business, a debut novel from Tauranga writer Ian Clarke, is a gentleman’s John Grisham, a keenly observed suspense drama set in a small Coromandel township. It’s the story of naive bachelor Ralph Sinclair, newly ashore and recently-appointed as a ship surveyor, he’s the ‘Ministry Man ’ on the spot when a commercial fishing boat is reported
Sinclair is enlisted to assist Marine Inspector Rothfall investigate the boat’s disappearance, but the inspector’s prickly methods meet with resistance. Seduced by the town’s charms, and falling in love with the missing skipper’s daughter, Sinclair is drawn inexorably into a net of small-town secrets and insecurities. When the disagreeable Captain Rothfall is found
dead, Sinclair, the outsider, finds himself accused of murder.
In writing circles, it’s commonly agreed you should write what you know, and author Ian Clarke has done just that.
Going to sea at sixteen, the Master Mariner has served as a systems engineer, a lecturer in nautical studies, a surveyor of ships, and a maritime safety inspector. The cumulative knowledge from these experiences slip seamlessly into A Very Fishy Business. What’s more, Clarke was once employed by a “shadowy firm that provided intellectual services to the British military.” This could explain both his talent for intrigue, and his discreet and unassuming manner.
Likewise, Clarke’s writing style is understated, almost restrained. Steering clear of grisly crime scenes, he chooses instead to build suspense though clever plotting and realistic, pithy dialogue. His small-town characters are so well observed, one wonders if the author has spent more than the odd weekend people-watching at seaside establishments like
the Landing Hotel.
But it’s not all scholarly analysis. The story is salted with humour; an unfortunate incident with a pair of binoculars, a comical end to a romantic tryst, and, amongst the cast of characters are Fin Bass, Miss Spratt, Foggerty, the ethereal inspector preferred by the townsfolk, and the Phillett Fishing Company, the subject of the inquiry.

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