Maritime New Zealand has filed a charge against KiwiRail in relation the January, 2023 loss of propulsion incident involving the Interislander ferry, ‘Kaitaki ‘.
‘Kaitaki’ lost power while approaching Wellington Harbour on 28th January last year, with more than 800 passengers and 80 crew on board. She issued a mayday.
After regaining limited power, the ferry arrived in port where her passengers were able to safely disembark.
Maritime NZ, the maritime and designated health and safety regulator for such incidents, subsequently investigated the loss of power, resulting in a charge being filed under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 in relation to the incident against the operator, KiwiRail.
“The investigation took 12 months; it involved reviewing the operator’s organisational information relevant to processes and procedures connected to safety and maintenance management, undertaking interviews and examining the ‘Kaitaki’ after the incident occurred,” Maritime NZ Director, Kirstie Hewlett, explained.
“Material was then comprehensively reviewed before the decision was made to prosecute,” she added.
As this matter is now before the courts, Maritime NZ said it could not make any further comments about the ongoing proceedings.
KiwiRail, CEO Peter Reidy said in a statement: “We have been advised of Maritime New Zealand’s decision to prosecute KiwiRail Limited over the ‘Kaitaki’ loss of power incident in January last year.
“We assure all our passengers and staff that their safety is and will always be our highest priority. The safe and reliable operation of the Interislander service is an absolutely non-negotiable requirement for KiwiRail Board and management.
“Following the ‘Kaitaki’ incident, we conducted a full review of all of our asset management practices, using global experts to ensure we are running the Interislander to world’s best practice standards.
“We are pleased that over the recent busy Christmas period, the Interislander ferries have operated with 100% asset reliability and 91.4% on-time performance. For comparison, these are levels matching even the best operators in the global aviation industry.
“As this matter is now before the Courts, it is not appropriate for us to make any further comment on the prosecution,” he concluded.