19 Feb 2009

Fisherman fined over needless search effort

7:13 am on 19 February 2009

A Kiribati man who was swept out to sea in a dinghy while fishing in a river near Napier has appeared in court on a charge of operating a vessel causing unnecessary danger.

Itintawara Baraniko, 46, and his 21-year-old nephew sparked a huge search and rescue operation off Hawke Bay after they failed to return from setting a net near the mouth of the Tukituki River in June last year.

Two coastguard boats, a helicopter, a Port of Napier pilot vessel and private fishing boats spent 19 hours searching for the pair before they were found 30 kilometres off the coast.

Maritime New Zealand charged Mr Baraniko for not carrying lifejackets, communications equipment or any form of safety gear.

He was sentenced in Napier District Court on Wednesday to 50 hours' community service.