Seafarer killed on NZ log ship, vessel detained

Maritime New Zealand is holding Coresky OL in port while its inspectors investigate a crew fatality on board. Credit: Aart van Bezooijen

A seafarer was killed on the Panamanian flagged log ship Coresky OL at Eastlake Port in Gisborne, New Zealand on 3 April.

The 50-year-old injured seafarer was taken to hospital after a wire rope broke while he was tying logs to the deck at 2am, but died soon after.

Maritime New Zealand is holding the vessel in port while its inspectors investigate the fatality .  Wharfside operations at the port were suspended in the interim. The Transport Accident Investigation Commission has also launched an investigation.

Meanwhile, a second log ship has been detained and its captain prosecuted in New Zealand after inspectors found crew working at heights in the port of Bluff without safety harnesses.

The master of the Panamanian flagged bulk carrier Spinnaker SW  Jianxi Chen was prosecuted on 29 March.

While no crew were injured on the Spinnaker, a Maritime New Zealand officer noted potential safety issues onboard the ship while it was loading logs on 25 March, a Maritime NZ spokesperson told SAS.

After inspecting the vessel’s Safety Management System (SMS), the officer found deficiencies and imposed conditions on loading continuing.

Despite this, the following day, inspectors found the vessel working in breach of regulations. The Maritime Officer then took immediate action and detained the vessel.

It was disappointing to find that on 26 March the crew on the vessel were still working at height without safety lines or harnesses,”  Maritime NZ acting regional compliance manager (Southern) Domonic Venz said in a statement.

The ship’s captain and other witnesses were interviewed by a maritime officer as part of the investigation into on-going safety breaches

Chen pleaded guilty to the offence and was sentenced before Judge Roberts in the District Court at Timaru, where he was fined NZD6,000 (USD4,000)

We are pleased with today’s outcome in court, our role is to ensure that all maritime activities are carried out safely,” Venz said.

On Saturday, 30 March 2019, the ship passed the independent International Safety Management (ISM) audit and the port State Control officer released the Spinnaker SW .

The Coresky OL is still under detention, while investigations into the fatality continue.