Fishing company to offer watchkeeping training following enforceable undertaking

11 December 2023

An enforceable undertaking between Maritime NZ and a North Island fishing company is helping to fund a range tools to help improve safety knowledge in the commercial fishing sector, and assist in training of rescue organisations.

Following the grounding of the Bilyara, on Ohinau Island off the Coromandel in April 2020 Maritime NZ started an investigation into the incident.

The investigation found the grounding put the lives of the crew and the environment at risk.

It was established that the Penwarden Holdings owned vessel grounded due to the crew failing to properly keepwatch. 

“We know watchkeeping issues contribute to a significant number of incidents for commercial operators,” General Manager Investigation, Pete Dwen says.

An enforceable undertaking is an agreement between Maritime NZ and a duty holder (vessel owner or operator) made under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA).


It is entered into voluntarily by the duty holder following a breach (including an alleged breach) of HSWA and, once in place, is legally binding.

It is generally used as an alternative to prosecution. It must include appropriate amends to victims and commitments that would promote health and safety at that work place, the wider industry and the community.

The near $190,000 undertaking will see Penwarden Holdings develop training modules for personnel in the industry. These resources will be used by both the company and the wider sector. The training is expected to be available in about 12 – 18 months’ time. The modules will be advertised via industry publications.

Pete Dwen says the enforceable undertaking was agreed to as it proposed a range of benefits for a variety of different groups.

“The nature of the proposals demonstrate benefits to the workplace, community and industry. In particular the resources to be developed in respect of watchkeeping, aligns with Maritime New Zealand’s strategic focus,” he says.

 

As well as the development of the modules, Penwarden Holdings will supply a vessel for training exercises to the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust, and donate $35,000 to the response charity.

“Response agencies such as ARHT play a significant role in helping those in need, and we know being able to undertaking a training exercise on a vessel such as those operated by Penwarden Holdings will be hugely valuable,” Pete Dwen says. 

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