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Local charter vessels get detention notices

Tuesday 20 July 2021 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National

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Local charter vessels  get detention notices
Cook Islands Transport carried out inspections on boats and ships including larger domestic fleets. 21061133

Two charter fishing vessels were issued with “detention notices” due to the considerable amount of deterioration, corrosion, and structural damage, during an inspection last month.

Concerns were raised during the Maritime Safety campaign last month in regards to the unsatisfactory conditions of small-motorised and inter-island vessels, and the safety equipment on board.

A total of 34 vessels on Rarotonga and Aitutaki were inspected in the two-week period from June 14 to 25. They included 29 small motorised vessels, the Vaka Marumaru Atua, and the four inter-island domestic cargo vessels

Deficiencies that were identified during the inspections have been conveyed to the owners/operators of the vessels with the objective that the deficiencies are rectified as soon as practical, said the Secretary of Transport John Hosking.

Two charter fishing vessels were issued with “detention notices” due to the considerable amount of deterioration, corrosion, and structural damage to particular areas on the vessels “that compromises the seaworthiness, and safety of all persons on board and potentially a risk to the safety of other shipping”.

“The Maritime Safety Authority is committed to ensuring safety standards are high across all the domestic vessels and chartered vessels. At the end of the day, we want everyone to come home safely. That’s our focus,” said Hosking.

Don Beer, the president of the Cook Islands Fishing Association, expressed the importance of the vessel inspections. “Boat safety is an important and integral of our community - an island surrounded by the ocean, we rely on the sea to harvest and catch fish to live on.”

With the Cook Islands an international tourism destination, the safety of visitors on fishing charters is “paramount”.

“Inter-island travel is very much part of our way of life, and ensuring safety is at its highest standard will eliminate accidents and unworthy vessels,” Beer said.

“The maritime vessel inspections avoid the high cost of search and rescue, and reduces the risk to those involved in search and rescue.”

The inspections were carried out by four technical advisors from the Pacific Maritime Safety Programme (PMSP), in collaboration with the Maritime Safety Authority of the Cook Islands Ministry of Transport (MOT).

Operations involved vessel inspections and surveys on both Rarotonga and Aitutaki that included the identification of the current status of safety equipment on board the vessels. 

Inspectors also provided safety advice to the owner/operators that comprised of developing maintenance systems. The technical advisors from New Zealand imparted their knowledge and experiences with the Ministry of Transport inspectors.

Due to time constraints, the small motorised vessels that were unable to be inspected last month will be inspected by Transport examiners.

Hosking reassured vessel owner/operators that Ministry of Transport will carry out the inspections/safety checks in a way that will minimise and avoid disruption to their normal operations and daily charter operations.

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