Safety update

June 1997 Fishing vessels: close quarters situations

This safety update is for owners and operators of fishing vessels. It is issued to raise awareness of the potential serious risk to safety from fishing vessels operating closely together. It provides safe practice tips for how best to reduce the risks involved and to alert people to the risk to safety associated with close quarters situations.


Owners and operators of vessels when fishing closely together must take extra care to avoid close quarters situations and collisions.

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) received formal reports of both types of events involving squid fishing vessels in the 1996/97 season.

Investigations revealed that it has become common practice for vessels to fish together so closely that the accident risk has increased to an unacceptable level.

Safe practice tips

To prevent further events of this type MNZ advises, particularly those companies whose vessels are engaged in the squid fishing industry, to give each skipper explicit instructions that:

  • when there is a risk of collision and their vessel is the "give way" vessel, they must take early and substantial action to keep well clear
  • when their vessel is the "stand on" vessel and it is in a situation where a collision cannot be avoided by the action of the "give way" vessel alone, they must take effective action to avoid a collision.

Where on investigation, under the Maritime Transport Act 1994 (MTA), it is shown that these rules have been breached, the party or parties at fault may be prosecuted.

Parties found to be at fault may also find that recognition of their maritime documents may be suspended or revoked under Section 41 of the Maritime Transport Act.

Original source content - Boat Notice 131997, June: Fishing vessels: close quarters situations.

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