A court in New Zealand fined Motueka-based agribusiness company Talley’s Group Ltd with NZD 48,000 (USD 37,000) and ordered the company to pay NZD 35,000 in reparation to the family of a crewman killed after falling nearly 7 meters on the tuna fishing vessel Capt MJ Souza in Nelson in May 2012, Maritime New Zealand reports.
The company was sentenced in Nelson District Court on April 29, 2015 after being found guilty in March of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employees after the death of crewman Cain Adams.
The reparations ordered are in addition to a payment of NZD 54,000 already made to the family by the company.
Adams died while working on the Capt MJ Souza after he stepped onto a hatch on the main deck that rotated, causing him to fall nearly 7 meters through another open hatch in the deck below to the floor of the vessel’s fish well.
Maritime NZ prosecuted Talley’s for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employees while at work.
Following a defended hearing, the company was found guilty in the Nelson District Court on 23 March.
At the time of the accident, several contractors were at work on the vessel, with the hatch on the main deck left vented, or partly open, to allow hoses and cables to pass through it.
In his judgment, District Court Judge Ian Mill said the company ”either foresaw the risk but did not take all reasonably practical steps in the circumstances of this case or ought to have foreseen the risk and failed to do so.”
”These practical steps were no more than ones already available but not used because the Captain and crew were lulled into a false sense of security from years of using the same practice without incident and always treating a vented hatch as safe,” Judge Mill said.
Maritime NZ Director Keith Manch said lessons must be learned from the accident.
”This was a tragic incident that could have been avoided through very simple measures,” Manch said.
”Ships are inherently dangerous working environments and employers must ensure all practicable safety steps are taken to protect their employees when they are on the job. All employees have the right to come home safely from work.”