Shark-dive firm faces Maritime scrutiny

22:13, Feb 22 2013

Maritime New Zealand is investigating the status of Bluff-based shark-diving company Shark Experience.

Maritime New Zealand spokesman Steve Rendle said the status of the company, its vessels Kiri Waipai and Candice Brit, and its director Michael Haines were under scrutiny.

Under maritime law, boats must hold a valid safe-ship-management (SSM) certificate to operate commercially.

The certificate proves the operator has all necessary safety documentation, much like a vehicle warrant of fitness and registration.

Maritime New Zealand confirmed via email this week to a group of pre-booked customers, concerned after their trips had been cancelled, that the Kiri Waipai had not had a safe-ship-management certificate since June 2012.

An application for the certificate was made on January 22 but had not yet been granted, the email says.


Said Mr Rendle: "The status of the Kiri Waipai in the safe-ship-management system is currently classified as ‘under review', and there are no current records for the Candice Brit. No further comment can be made while this investigation is under way."

Mr Haines said he did not know anything about the investigation.

"As far as I am concerned, I am going through the process of getting an SSM certificate . . . the paperwork and documents are completed," he said.

He said he was trying to keep his business going and he hoped to have the certificate within the next few weeks.

"There have been a few hiccups and I hope to have a certificate issued at any stage now," he said.

He said he would contact Maritime New Zealand to find out what was happening.

He had been taking bookings but declined to say if he had taken any divers out on trips.

"At the end of the day, people want to shark-dive," he said.

Mr Haines was also director of Southern Aqua Adventures Ltd and Haines Holdings, which were put into receivership and liquidation in September last year.

Southern Aqua Adventure was the same dive firm that had a great white partly enter its shark cage in February last year.

Shortly after, Maritime New Zealand issued the firm with a detention notice after breaching the safe-ship-management requirements by not holding a certificate for its boat, Candice Brit.

The Southland Times