7 Mar 2014

US skipper fined for dragging runabout

5:00 pm on 7 March 2014

An American skipper of a 17-metre vessel on a round-the-world cruise has been fined and ordered to pay reparations after snagging a family's fishing craft and dragging it 30 metres through water on the Waitemata Harbour.

The father of the family-of-four was forced to cut the anchor line of his boat to free it from the US vessel, Karma, which failed to stop before berthing at a marina in January this year.

The skipper of the Karma, Richard Panescu, was charged by Maritime New Zealand with operating a ship in a manner which caused unnecessary danger or risk to any other person.

He pleaded guilty in Auckland District Court, was fined $1000 and ordered to pay $2000 reparations to the family on board the snagged vessel.

The incident occurred when the Karma cruised through a group of small recreational vessels, rather than taking a longer route to the marina.

Maritime New Zealand brought the charges and says the prosecution should send a strong message on safety.