$20k fine for boat explosion

Last updated 14:32 19/02/2013

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A Mangawhai marine engineering company has been fined $20,000 following a boat explosion which left a customer, a contractor and its company director injured in January last year.

Mangawhai Engineering & Marine Limited was fined and ordered to pay reparations of $5000 to each of the two victims in the North Shore District court.

The court heard that on January 24 last year the company director was repairing a catamaran, while the boat's owner waited for the job to be finished. Another contractor was also working at the site.

During the repair, a metal inert gas welder on the boat was struck, causing an explosion which destroyed the right side hull and lifted the deck from the left side.

The force of the blast knocked the contractor underneath the bench grinder where he was working some distance away. He sustained muscle and ligament damage to his knee and temporary hearing loss.

The boat's owner sustained a perforated eardrum, and has permanent hearing loss as a result. The company director also sustained facial injuries following the explosion.

"The company owner performed a 'sniff' test to determine whether there was any hazardous vapour. This was completely inadequate for the repair he was carrying out," the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's John Howard said.

"He had a responsibility to ensure his own safety along with that of the contractor and also to ensure his customer was safe. He should have used a more through system to ensure that hazardous vapours and moisture were not present inside the void of the hull to conduct the repair safely. Instead his customer now faces permanent hearing loss and his contractor suffered preventable injuries."

"This was a serious incident, injuring three people, one of whom has permanent hearing loss as a result."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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