28 May 2014

Director says many flout boat laws

6:04 pm on 28 May 2014

The widow sentenced over the sinking of the Easy Rider vessel claims thousands are breaching maritime laws.

As sole director of the company that owned the boat, Gloria Davis was fined and given community service over the tragedy.

Easy Rider


On Tuesday at Invercargill District Court, Judge John Strettell sentenced Davis to 350 hours' community service and fined her $3000. The company she was a director of, AZ1 Enterprises, was fined $204,500.

Eight people died, including her husband, the boat's skipper Rewai Karetai, when Easy Rider sank in Foveaux Strait in 2012.

Davis breached rules governing commercial fishing vessels, but claimed the fishing trip, was for recreational purposes, and did not need extra safety precautions.

Davis said others regularly flout what is an unclear law.

"The legislation only has commercial use although the practice is very, very different I think that thousands of commercial vessels are used everyday throughout the country for recreational purposes."

Meanwhile, company directors are being warned to be more aware of their responsibilities after Davis' sentencing.

Davis said she had an arrangement with her husband whereby he took responsibility for the safety of the vessel and she was not involved in its day-to-day operation.

But Institute of Directors chief executive Dr William Whittaker said the sentence shows directors need to take an active role in health and safety matters and must fully understand their role as a director.