Prosecution follows April collision between power boat and ferry near Russell

30 November 2023

Following a collision between a twin-engine recreational power boat and the ferry, Waitere, in Russell earlier this year, Maritime NZ has charged the power boat’s skipper.

The collision occurred at about midday on 13 April 2023, when Waitere (also known as the Blue Ferry ) was travelling from Russell to Paihia.

Maritime NZ’s Deputy Chief Executive Regulatory Operations, Deb Despard, says Maritime NZ personnel undertook a thorough investigation in response to this incident.

"Investigators carried out interviews, examined the scene, reviewed documents and gathered other relevant evidence connected to the incident," she says.

The ferry’s skipper was severely injured, some of the passengers suffered lesser injuries and the ferry was badly damaged. It sunk a few hours after the collision. There was some damage to the power boat, but no one on board it at the time was injured.

Ms Despard says one charge has been filed in the Auckland District Court against the skipper of the power boat. The charge has been filed under section 65 of the Maritime Transport Act 1994.

As the matter is now before the Court, Maritime NZ cannot make further comment.

Editors’ notes:

  • Section 65 of the Maritime Transport Act makes it an offence to operate a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger or risk to any other person or property.
  • Maximum penalties the Court can impose against an individual are a fine of up to $10,000 or a prison term of up to one year.
  • Maritime NZ will not be releasing documents while the matter is before the Court. Some documents might be available from the Court on application in accordance with the District Court (Access to Court Documents) Rules 2017. 
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