One of New Zealand’s oldest commercial vessels joins new safety system

11 July 2014

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) is welcoming Real Journeys’ iconic steamship TSS Earnslaw into the new Maritime Operator Safety System (MOSS) - designed to improve operator and vessel safety.

Built in 1912, The Earnslaw  is one of the few remaining commercial passenger-carrying coal-fired steamship in the southern hemisphere.

“The Earnslaw is one of the tourism highlights of any trip to Queenstown. I’m delighted to welcome her into MOSS and it’s good to see Real Journeys showing its commitment to safety by being among the ‘first off the block’ in transitioning from SSM to MOSS,” says MNZ Director Keith Manch.

MOSS replaces the old Safe Ship Management (SSM) system, in which an operator was required to engage a third party to develop a safety system for their vessels. MOSS removes that requirement and places the onus on the operator to develop a safety system covering not only their vessels, but their entire operation.

Around 2000 commercial operators will enter MOSS over the next four years. Over time, MOSS should help to increase safety and reduce the number of boating related injuries and fatalities in both the commercial and tourism sectors.

“MOSS represents a positive change in that all industry operators will now take direct ownership of their safe operating practices on a day to day basis,” says Richard Lauder, the chief executive of the steamship owner, Real Journeys.

“We have embraced these new safety changes and are putting a lot of energy into making the transition to the new system as quickly as possible,” says Richard.

“By a neat twist of fate our oldest vessel, the TSS, is the catalyst for Real Journeys to move into the new regulatory environment. She will receive the first certificate of survey in our 23-strong fleet.”

Real Journeys’ operations include a wide range of activities such as tourism, workboats, barges and tenders, working in Fiordland, Otago, Foveaux areas – including on lakes, rivers, fiords and open sea.

It is one of the largest tourism operators in the region, with operational bases in Milford Sound, Te Anau, Manapouri, Stewart Island and Queenstown, the company offers a range of excursions including overnight trips on Milford and Doubtful Sounds, and steamship cruises on Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu.

Keith says “MOSS strikes the right balance between ensuring all operators take control of developing and implementing their own safety system, and for MNZ to provide the right amount of regulatory oversight for these systems”.

The principles guiding MOSS are:

  • improving safety by putting a greater focus on vessel owners and operators operating safely
  • creating clearer lines of responsibility for the day-to-day safe operation of vessels
  • providing effective and efficient regulatory oversight by MNZ
  • making it easier for operators, surveyors and MNZ staff to support safe vessels and safe operating practices.

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