Mi Jay sentencing sends strong message

30 April 2007

Maritime New Zealand says the sentencing today of the owner of the fishing vessel Mi Jay for breaches of the Maritime Transport Act should remind all owners and operators of their duty to make sure their Masters establish a method to report back to shore regularly.

The vessel’s owner, Warwick Loader, has been found guilty of ‘operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger or risks to other persons’ and sentenced to 350 hours Community work.

The search and rescue operation for Mi Jay was severely hampered by the owner’s failure to ensure the vessel’s Master would regularly report back to shore, and his failure to alert Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand that the vessel was missing until 13 days after he last heard from it.

This tragedy, in which two men died and one remains missing, highlights the obligations of vessel owners and Masters and the importance of arranging a regular communicationsschedule with people on land before departure and making sure it is kept to while at sea.

The chances of success in any search & rescue operation are far greater if up-to-date information about a vessel’s whereabouts and intentions are known.

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