East by West ferry loses appeal against $380,000 fine for grounding and speeding

Damian George/StuffThe East by West ferry City Cat under repair after it was damaged. (File photo)Wellington’s cross harbour ferry company East by West has lost an appeal against a $380,000 fine for an April 2017 grounding and speeding hundreds of times in restricted areas. In a decision issued from the High Court in Wellington, Justice Karen Clark said the total penalty was not disproportionate to the overall seriousness of the offending. The company had been sentenced in October 2019 after pleading guilty to charges of failing to ensure the safety of passengers and crew, and failing to keep within speed limits surrounding the shore. One of its ferries, the City Cat, hit a submerged rock in Karaka Bay, on a Sunday morning trip on April 16, 2017. READ MORE: * Assembly of Wellington’s electric ferry to start by the end of 2019 * East by West ferry company fined $380,000 for grounding and safety breaches * East by West skipper fined for going too fast in Wellington harbour * Wellington’s East by West Ferries charged with being too close to rocks It had been going about 17 knots when the limit for the area was 5 knots (9 kilometres) because it was within 200 metres of shore. One passenger was thrown from her seat, hitting her back and neck, but did not need first aid. The City Cat was damaged and was out of service for about two weeks. During the investigation of that incident it was found the two East by West ferries, City Cat and Cobar Cat, had been travelling too fast within 200 metres of shore or a structure hundreds of times. In the District Court East by West had said that a fine of more than $200,000 could put at risk the company’s new electric ferry built for the Wellington run, but that point was not pursued on appeal, the High Court judge said in her recent East by West ferry City Cat was also in the news in October 2015 when it came to the rescue of three kayakers in distress. (File video) The ferry company said the $380,000 was clearly excessive. It wasn’t obvious to the company that the skipper would deviate from his training and responsibilities on the day of the grounding, and no-one was hurt. Maritime New Zealand, the prosecutor for the charges, said the penalty was lenient. The company should have known that its vessels were speeding close to land. Justice Clark said the District Court judge’s reasons for the sentence he imposed were “indisputably sparse” but the City Cat had been too close to shore, travelling 17 knots when it should have been doing five knots, and it was not carrying the map that would have warned of the presence of rocks. The fine recognised the company’s extremely good safety record, lack of previous convictions, that no-one was injured and the steps the company took to avoid anything similar, she said.Stuff
Read More

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button