The master of the 177m Singapore-flagged cargo vessel Lake Triview has been fined $2000 (plus $130 court costs) after pleading guilty to a charge of failing to notify Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) that the vessel had grounded off New Plymouth after dragging its anchor on Saturday, 24 May, 2014.
MNZ laid the charge under s31 of the Maritime Transport Act which requires incidents to be reported to MNZ as soon as practicable. MNZ was not notified of the grounding until 28 May.
Rolando Valmeo Legaspi, 63, of the Philippines was sentenced in New Plymouth District Court today.
MNZ Director Keith Manch said the sentence should send a strong message to those responsible for vessels operating around New Zealand.
"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," he said.
"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 MNZ. That is simply unacceptable and cannot be tolerated."
Just after 11am on 24 May, the Lake Triview, carrying a cargo of soya bean meal, anchored approximately 2.1 nautical miles (3.9km) off the Port of New Plymouth. At around 5.30pm the anchor began to drag and the vessel moved slowly towards the shore.
When this movement was noticed, at around 8pm, the Master ordered the anchor to be raised but mechanical failure prevented this happening. The Port of New Plymouth was asked to put two tugs on standby but these were not deployed and at around 9.38pm the vessel ran aground on a rocky reef in approximately 7 metres of water. While anchor was successfully retrieved, the vessel remained grounded for around five minutes until freed using its own engines.
MNZ was subsequently advised by the harbourmaster that the anchor had dragged and on 26 May sought details of the incident – but received no notification of the grounding.
Details of the grounding were not received by MNZ until late in the evening of 28 May.
After the vessel had berthed on 27 May, an inspection by divers identified approximately 12 breaches to the ballast tanks as a result of the grounding. No spill of oil was detected.
The vessel remains detained in New Plymouth pending arrangements for repair of the damage.