Accident on Korean fishing vessel

AL WILLIAMS
Last updated 05:00 28/01/2014
Sur Este 700
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/ Fairfax NZ

SCENE OF THE INJURY: The Sur Este 700 alongside at the Timaru Port.

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A Korean fishing boat docked in Timaru is at the centre of a Maritime New Zealand investigation.

Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) fisheries observer Martin Bowers remains in a stable condition in Dunedin Hospital after part of his arm was mutilated aboard the ship on Friday evening.

Family members have been reported as saying Mr Bowers' life jacket had been caught in a conveyor belt with his left arm torn out of its socket.

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) said the ship, the Sur Este 700, had since docked in Timaru and was visited by an official yesterday.

The ship has not been detained.

A spokesperson said the official spoke to people on the ship and would also speak to Mr Bowers.

"That will take some time; we've got to look on board and talk to crew and to the injured person in due course. I can't give you a time frame; an integral part of that will be talking to the injured person. It's very difficult to speculate without knowing what's actually happened.

"What I can understand is because it is a foreign vessel the Health and Safety Act doesn't apply but the Maritime Transport Act does; you can be charged under both acts.

"Because of the status of the vessel it does change the parameters."

The incident was reported at 7pm on Friday, about 105 kilometres southeast of Bluff.

The Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter arrived at the ship about 8.30pm where a paramedic was winched down and stabilised Mr Bowers. He was then flown to Dunedin Hospital for surgery.

MPI director general Martyn Dunne said he had been in touch with Mr Bowers.

"Our thoughts are with our staff member and his family. There will be an investigation into this incident, but right now our focus is on supporting him and his family.

"MPI's fisheries observers do critical work, often in difficult conditions, to assure the sustainability of New Zealand's fisheries."

Mr Dunne said he would not comment further as the matter was under investigation.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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