Fatigue Causes Groundings

Several recent Maritime New Zealand Prosecutions have emphasised the importantance of managing fatigue when operating vessels.

In Tauranga a fishing charter, due to return at around 6.30pm, was running late and collided with the base of Mount Maunganui at around 11.30pm when the skipper fell asleep. Following a prosecution, the skipper was fined $7,000. The fishing charter company was convicted and discharged, due to it being insolvent.

In Nelson, a skipper put his vessel on autopilot and fell asleep.  The vessel ran aground and was so badly damaged it could not be salvaged.  The skipper received a fine of $3,000, but also had more than $250,000 in uninsured losses arising out of the incident.

A vessel returning to New Zealand from Fiji ran aground in calm conditions. On the open water voyage the crew had shared 2-hourly watches but had had a full night’s rest on their return to New Zealand.  However, on travelling to their next port the following day, the skipper and another crew member fell asleep and the vessel rand aground.  It could not be salvaged.  The skipper’s feedback was “if you think there’s any chance you’re tired, take two night’s sleep. What’s another day?”.

For more information on managing fatigue, visit the Maritime New Zealand website here.

If you would like to discuss any of the above please contact Simon Cartwright or Charlotte Robertson or your usual contact at Hesketh Henry.

Disclaimer:  The information contained in this article is current at the date of publishing and is of a general nature.  It should be used as a guide only and not as a substitute for obtaining legal advice.  Specific legal advice should be sought where required.

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