New Zealand: Maritime Union Backs Calls for Shipping Lanes

The union that represents New Zealand shipping crews is backing calls for mandatory shipping lanes on the New Zealand coast.

Maritime Union of New Zealand national secretary Joe Fleetwood says there is real potential for another Rena type grounding.

Wellington based marine expert John Riding has detailed many recent near miss incidents by large vessels coming close to grounding on the New Zealand coast and offshore islands and reefs.

The Maritime Union is backing his call for shipping lanes to be put in place on the New Zealand coast.

Mr Fleetwood says that this is a basic measure to tighten up the maritime industry.

He says there is enormous time pressure to maintain shipping schedules and this obviously can conflict with safety best practice.

The same pressures are behind New Zealand’s bad health and safety record in many industries that have been deregulated and where profit is put before safety, he says.

Mr Fleetwood says that most large vessels on the New Zealand coast are flag of convenience vessels, which increases risks due to lack of regulation in flag states, and in many cases are in poor condition.

“The New Zealand coast is an unforgiving environment and we should not wait for another Rena type situation to move on this issue.”

Maritime Union of New Zealand, December 20, 2013

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