More serious charges for Triview

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 19/06/2014
Lake Triview
Fairfax NZ
LAID UP: The Lake Triview at Port Taranaki.

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The captain and chief officer of the Lake Triview are facing more serious charges after their vessel was holed on a reef off New Plymouth in a potential Rena-type disaster.

The grounding on the Waiwhakaiho Reef last month smashed at least 12 holes in the ship's hull resulting in it taking on water.

However, the captain failed to immediately inform the Maritime Safety Authority as required.

As a result, the Lake Triview's captain Rolando Legaspi, a 63-year-old Filipino national, was charged and pleaded guilty last week to not informing Maritime Safety Authority of the grounding when his ship foundered on the Waiwhakaiho Reef north of Port Taranaki on May 24.

He was fined $2000 plus court charges.

The Taranaki Regional Council investigation which followed the incident has now resulted in both the captain and his chief officer Romelito De Asis being charged with four counts each under the Resource Management Act.

The eight charges include contravention of section 12 and section 338 in that the two men's actions disturbed or damaged the seabed which was likely to have an adverse effect on the protected Waiwhakaiho Reef.

The men are to appear in the New Plymouth District Court tomorrow when bail will be addressed.

The Singaporean-flagged cargo vessel, which is 20,236grt and 177 metres long, was carrying soya meal which was to be offloaded at Port Taranaki.

The investigation found the ship, which had moored offshore prior to coming into port, dragged its anchor in big seas. The anchor mechanism failed and the ship became stuck on the reef.

The crew managed to repair the anchor's mechanism and powered the ship off the reef but not before the hull was badly damaged.

The ship is currently detained at the port and will not be allowed to sail until repairs are completed.

The incident prompted a strong response from the MNZ director Keith Manch.

"This incident posed a potential threat to the 21 crew and could have had a serious impact on the environment and yet no effort was made for some days to notify Maritime New Zealand," he said.

"That is simply unacceptable and cannot be tolerated."

And in presenting the case in court last week, Maritime New Zealand prosecutor Shane Elliott, Auckland, said the incident was viewed as serious.

Water was leaking into the hull but the captain had failed to notify Maritime New Zealand as he was required to do under the Maritime Safety Act.

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Notifying of any such incident was of paramount importance because it then enabled authorities to respond quickly and appropriately to any risk such as occurred with the Rena.

- Taranaki

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