28 Sep 2017

Ferry master insufficiently trained before collision - report

12:33 pm on 28 September 2017

A ferry that crashed into an Auckland wharf, injuring seven passengers, was being operated by a master who did not know how to properly control the vessel, a report has found.

A Fullers ferry docked at the Auckland Ferry Terminal before leaving for Waiheke

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The Kea crashed into the Devonport ferry terminal in February 2015 with more than 60 passengers on board. Seven needed hospital treatment after the collision, with 19 injured in total.

Earlier this year the owner, Fullers, was fined $40,000 and ordered to pay a further $90,000 in reparations.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission has found the control system for the ferry had been replaced four months earlier.

However, the owner, Fullers, had failed to ensure the master was properly trained for the new system.

He did not know how to use two other features that could have prevented the crash, the Commission found.

At the moment of the collision, the ferry was travelling at eight knots, or 16km/h, and the starboard motor stayed at full speed the whole time.

Fullers had also allowed the vessel to use a specific control mode despite knowing there were faults with it that were resulting in incidents.

The master also did not make any announcements on the ferry's public address system about what was happening, the Commission said.

"Most passengers were therefore unaware of the imminent collision and did not know to brace themselves. Many passengers were thrown out of their seats and injured.

"A number of injuries were caused by unsecured seats landing on top of the passengers."

The Commission noted four safety issues - three of which it said Fullers had taken action to address, with the fourth recommendation passed on to Maritime New Zealand.