Review of shipping risks as voyages rise

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 09:00 01/07/2014

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The risks caused by coastal shipping are under the spotlight in the wake of an increase in shipping around New Zealand and the grounding of the Rena.

Taranaki also experienced a serious incident in May when the Lake Triview was holed when it ran aground off New Plymouth after dragging its anchor.

The grounding of the Rena on Astrolabe Reef off Tauranga in October 2011 has been labelled this country's worst environmental disaster.

Bay of Plenty iwi are calling for the removal of the hulk from the reef in a hearing before the Waitangi Tribunal this week.

Maritime New Zealand director Keith Manch said the review of coastal navigation safety was under way in order to identify risks and assess current and potential safety measures.

"The review is not a response to any particular incident but obviously we will consider what can be learned from major incidents such as the grounding of the Rena," Manch said.

The regulatory review of the management of coastal shipping is a statutory requirement under the Maritime Transport Act.

The review begins this month and is part of a focus on developing an intelligence-led, risk-focused approach to maritime safety.

"We are seeing an increased number of ship visits to New Zealand, an international trend toward larger ships, and technology changes in the field of navigational aids - all these factors mean a review of coastal navigation risks is timely.

"In order to appropriately manage risks in the coastal environment we need an accurate, up-to-date picture of what those risks are," he said.

The first phase, likely to take about 12 months, will involve assessing the nature of risks around coastal navigation and how they are being managed.

"If changes are recommended as an outcome of the risk assessment, the next step will involve consideration of options to improve coastal navigation safety."

There will be consultation with government agencies, local government and private sector interests.

The review will consider types of activity being carried out in the coastal environment, human factors and technology.

The owners, operators and three crew of the Lake Triview are currently before the courts, charged by the Taranaki Regional Council under the Resource Management Act that they most likely caused damage to the Waiwhakaiho Reef.

The Singapore-flagged cargo ship's captain has already pleaded guilty to failing to notify Maritime NZ of the grounding and was fined $2000.

PORT CALL NUMBERS 2010/11 year: 790 ships made 2167 voyages and 5386 port calls.

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2012/13 year: 869 ships made 2342 voyages and 5622 port calls.

Source: MARITIME NZ

- Taranaki Daily News

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