An American skipper on an around-the-world cruise has been ordered to pay $3000 after snagging a family's fishing boat and dragging it through Auckland's harbour.
The father of the family of four, which includes 10-year-old twins (a boy and a girl), was forced to cut the anchor line of his runabout to free it after being towed 30 metres through Waitemata Harbour.
His son almost fell overboard during the January 11 incident.
The American skipper of the 17m Karma, Richard Livu Panescu, cruised through a group of small recreational vessels fishing off Stanley Point in Waitemata Harbour rather than taking a longer route to the Bayswater Marina, where he was heading.
Panescu attempted to pass between two vessels anchored close to each other, but the Karma's hull caught the anchor line of the family's 4.5m boat, says Maritime New Zealand (MNZ), which prosecuted Panescu.
The Karma failed to stop and sailed on to berth in the Bayswater Marina.
"This incident could very easily have resulted in serious harm, but would have been avoided completely if sensible navigational practices had been followed," MNZ regional compliance manager Deane Ingram said.
Panescu was charged with operating a ship in a manner that caused unnecessary danger or risk to any other person, under section 65 of the Maritime Transport Act.
He pleaded guilty in the Auckland District Court today and was fined $1000 and ordered to pay reparations of $2000 to the family whose boat he snagged.
Ingram said the prosecution should send a strong message to everyone out on the water for work or play.
"MNZ takes very seriously all incidents that pose a danger or risk of harm at sea – recreational or commercial. We will take firm action to ensure water users are operating safely," he said.
- Fairfax Media