10 Mar 2014

Ferry captain on trial for risky sailings

7:56 pm on 10 March 2014

A Bluebridge ferry captain who twice sailed across Cook Strait with a gash in the hull of his vessel has gone on trial in the Wellington District Court.

The Santa Regina in Cook Strait.

The Santa Regina in Cook Strait. Photo: PHOTO NZ

John Henderson, 67, is charged that while he was in command of the Santa Regina he did an act which caused unnecessary danger to passengers.

Crown prosecutor Ian Murray said that in April 2011, while trying to berth in Wellington in bad weather, the Santa Regina was blown into another boat.

Mr Murray said that left two holes in the starboard side of the Santa Regina's hull, including a gash 3.5 metres long.

He said Mr Henderson found the smaller hole in the hull and arranged for it to be fixed by a welder during the trip back to Picton.

Mr Murray said the Santa Regina made that trip and a return trip to Wellington without the larger gash being noticed and that caused unnecessary risk to the passengers and crew.