17 Sep 2010

Anchor watch might have prevented sea tragedy

4:23 pm on 17 September 2010

An accident report says the grounding of a fishing vessel, which had fatal consequences, might have been prevented by having an anchor watch.

The San Cuvier dragged its anchor and grounded near Tarakeha Point, east of the Bay of Plenty town of Opotiki, about 3am in July 2008.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission says it was not a suitable anchorage, given the forecast storm-force winds and heavy swell from the north.

The skipper drowned and another crew member is presumed drowned after they tried to abandon the stricken vessel. Another two crew members survived by clinging to rocks.

The commission says Maritime New Zealand should gather data on deaths and injuries contributed to by not maintaining anchor watches.