A Coroner is looking into the deaths of the five Indonesian fishermen and the vessel's Korean captain when the Oyang 70 sank off the coast of the South Island in 2010.
The boat began to list and started taking on water when an attempt was made to haul 120 tonnes of fish on board, and sank within 10 minutes.
Crew member statements describe leaks in cabins, cockroach infestations and language barriers.
Lawyer Craig Tuck says these conditions occur on other foreign charter vessels as well.
"What we're seeing now is just how bad it was on that vessel, which is consistent with reports about other vessels of all sorts of communication problems, lack of safety, horrific conditions on board."
Meanwhile, Prime Minister John Key says the widows of Indonesian fishermen are entitled to ACC payments.
Mr Key says the families are eligible for the payments because the ship sank in New Zealand waters.