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Transponder fittings urged for all boats


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AIS would be nice to have on the ocean but it will annoy you close to harbours.So you will turn the sound down and ignore that.You might still watch the screen but it will still piss you off when you are approaching a moored ship and it flashes you a warning "DANGEROUS TARGET".

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I wonder what you have to do to become and expert? I suspect a few years at university and a good dose of bullshit tablets. What is being proposed is rubbish. If they go ahead and say recreational craft have to be fitted with AIS, how do they propose to enforce it? the short answer is they can't. Which means the law they propose is useless.


And whilst on the subject of enforcing rules, the harbour master's lot do nothing at the moment everyday I see the "expert" commercial skippers breaking the rules the most common is speed followed by being to close to the shore and other boats, and last but not least the no wake rules.


If the harbour masters lot can't do anything about these infringements ( which are more likely going to cause an incident) then hows he going to enforce the AIS rules.

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A little more.


The new navigation bylaw which the Marlborough District Council is proposing to implement is set to be discussed at great length at a Marine Transport Association conference to be held at the Portage Resort Hotel in the Sounds starting on 23rd September and organisers are asking all locals affected by the proposed bylaw to attend.

There are a lot of controversial subjects on the agenda for the meeting. Peter Dawson of Dawson Law, who made a combined submission against the proposed bylaw, will speak at the conference. Mark Evans, Vice President of the MTA, has requested the Council ensures someone can attend to help locals understand the rationale behind why the Council is driving ahead with the proposed bylaw, which will affect many local marine operators.

Another vexing issue is the MDC requirement to carry Class “A” Automated Information System Transponders aboard every commercial vessel operating in the Sounds. There will be a representative of an organization who has gained the total support of the MTA in producing a local manufactured product that meets the requirements of the Auckland Harbourmaster using a Class “B” unit. The difference in the cost to the end user of these pieces of kit is about $5000. Auckland has been through a huge learning curve over the requirements of local authorities, having convinced them to produce a very user friendly and competitive unit that satisfies. There will be a live demonstration on how this system works with both the supplier, Vesper Marine and Kordia, which monitors and displays the gathered information via the internet for display in your office or home. This is an opportunity not to be missed.

Cougarline will be running ferries out to Portage over the three days of the conference. The main interest in these subjects will be discussed on Thursday 24 September and you can get there, have a great lunch in the best Portage tradition, enjoy refreshments from national suppliers across the country and get home again for a mere $90.00.

Other subjects to be discussed include Safe Ship Management, Safe Crewing Documents, Fit and Proper Person Certification and the Rules in general. Maritime NZ is looking forward to a big contingent of local operators to attend and put their point of view across.

Go along to the conference and have your say. You can also stay on for the relaxation afterwards where you can enjoy the Portage hospitality for an evening of fine wine and food. John Forrest will be entertaining with his skill as an entertainer and a vintner. An opportunity not to be missed! For more information check out the website www.marinetransport.co.nz where you can download the registration form for this very important conference.


Update as at 27th April 2009


The final date for submissions has been extended, again. The final date to get your submissions


in is now 27th May 2009.


Issue 233


More than 60 concerned Marlborough Sounds commercial boat operators met on Friday 13th February to discuss the draft Marlborough Navigation Bylaw 2009 . The Marlborough District Council has proposed this bylaw in order to generate additional funding to deliver appropriate risk control procedures which were highlighted in a Marlborough Sounds Harbour Navigation Risk Assessment completed in 2005 by Marico Marine NZ Ltd, on behalf of the MDC.


The Risk Assessment reported 84 potential hazards which have been ranked using a most likely/worst credible approach. A large number of recommendations arose from this report and are summarised here in no particular order.

1. The Harbour Regulator (MDC) is in a position where’Standing Still’ is not an option as a result of the wide ranging risk assessment.

2. The prime sources of risk are associated with the passenger and freight services on the route to Wellington and the realisation of hazards involving themselves or caused by other vessels or craft.

3. More than 1.2 million people use the ferries each year and ‘it’s in the public interest to reduce the frequency of incident reports involving ferry operations.’ Accordingly, recommendations are made for the Harbour regulator to participate more in the management of navigational risk.

4. MDC is advised to commence the introduction of vessel monitoring within the Sounds using an Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponder at Tory Channel entrance, which will interact with equipment already fitted to ferries and other eligible vessels over 300 gross tons.

5. Effective vessel monitoring will involve moving the Harbourmaster’s office to a more accessible place.

6. It is recommended that a harbour wide communication system be set up which would take over from the present arrangements at Port Marlborough.

7. MDC is advised to introduce a “ring fenced” harbour account and that a “regulatory charge should be introduced using the principle of “the risk imposer pays.’

8. ‘Consideration should be given to either the Port Company or Harbourmaster system to provide the contract for pilotage’. At present it is independent of all harbour interests.

9. There should be a review of navigation aids.

10. ‘Improved signage and navigation markers are recommended at Havelock, as well as an eight knot speed limit for Havelock entrance channel.

11. Hydrographic surveying needs to be updated in targeted areas.

12. MDC is advised to proceed to introduce a Harbour Safety Management system and Harbour Safety Plan on the basis of the Risk Control Measures presented within the Risk Assessment report.


In order to pay for the proposed bylaw MDC has recommended a charging system. Table 1.8 is shown below for reference.

Table 1.8 showing the proposed fee charges.


Table 1.8 showing the proposed fee charges.


The cost of the present Harbour Control services are funded by general rates with an annual contribution of $130,000 from Port Marlborough Ltd.’

‘A charging system should be aimed at collecting, as far as practicable, revenue from each user group in proportion to the use or benefit that they get from the service provided. This includes consideration of the risk contribution generated by each group.’


The Risk Assessment report determined that 24% of boating movements relate to recreational users therefore some means of charging them needs to be established, perhaps in an annual or daily safety charge for licence to use harbour waters.


‘The most equitable and economically efficient method of charging (recreational users) is to establish a national registration system for boats.’


It is the proposed charging system and time lapsed since the Risk Assessment was carried out(2005)that have angered many commercial boat operators. Many of the safety issues raised in the Risk Assessment report have already been dealt with by better reporting and communication between vessels as mentioned by an Interislander representative.


Those present at the Friday 13th meeting included representatives from the NZ Marine Transport Association, the Federation of Commercial Fisherman, local tug and barge companies, Port Marlborough, tourist operators, marine farmers, charter boat operators, Department of Conservation, Kiwi Rail, the oil industry. Each operator was told to analyse the validity of the proposed bylaw in terms of how it affects his operations. The draft Marlborough Navigation Bylaw 2009 will have differing practical applications for different users.


As one commercial boat employee says,” The bylaws proposed will seriously affect my employment by making my employer’s business not viable due to restrictions at Tory Channel, Cape Jackson, French Pass, Allen Strait and excessive fees. The proposed bylaw prevents vessels of 100gross tonnage or more from transitting French Pass without a pilot. As there is no pilot trained for this area the proposed bylaw prohibits anyone from transitting French Pass.


Vessels of 100gt or more will also be unable to transit through Allen Strait and round Cape Jackson inside Walkers Rock thus placing a vessel that has to go outside Walkers Rock in an unsafe situation where it could be lying side on to the weather or have the tide going one way and the weather the other.

Another concern is that every commercial vessel will have to carry a transponder. Tugs and tows will be deemed to be a single entity and will therefore need to carry a transponder and they’ll need pilotage and pilotage exemption so their fees and charges will increase substantially.


The whole issue of how the charges will be collected and applied to the safety and management of the harbour was also discussed .


Boat operators have until March 27th to present their submissions to the Council against the proposed bylaw.


For those who wish to read the full report regarding the bylaw, contact us here at the Seaport News office. We will be covering this matter further in our next edition with direct concerns from local businesses.


–Ailsa Carey




Issue 232


The Marlborough District Council has released details of how it intends to combat the cost of its increased obligations to meet harbour safety requirements and it appears commercial vessel operators will bear the brunt of the expense.


After a review of local navigation bylaws, as is required under local government legislation, the Council is planning to update the two bylaws which cover safety in Picton Harbour and the Marlborough Sounds.

A Risk Assessment report has been prepared for the Council by Marico Marine, an international marine assessment company. One of the conclusions reached in the report is that the Harbour Regulator is in a position where standing still is not an option. It further states that fundamentally, the Marlborough Sounds harbour system has some risks that have ranked as significant. Risk control should be introduced within two years in accordance with the MNZ Risk Assessment and Safety Management Guidelines. The prime sources of risk are associated with the passenger and freight services.


In the order of 1.2 million people transit the Sounds on the ferry services and it is in the public interest to introduce measures to reduce the frequency of incident reports involving ferry operations. Accordingly, recommendations are made for the Harbour Regulator to participate more in the management of navigational risk. It is rcommended that Marlborough District Council commence the introduction of vessel monitoring within the Sounds. It commences with deployment of an automatic identification system transponder at the entrance of Tory Channel which will interact with equipment already fitted to ferries and other eligible vessels over 300 gross tons.


The report also recommends the Harbourmaster’s department be moved to a location with a direct interface with harbour users thereby making the department readily accessible to the public as well as commercial users. In today’s ‘user pays’ world it does not take much to realise that in order to achieve a high level of safety for both recreational and commercial users, it will cost - a lot.


A report on options for cost recovery has also been prepared. The report assesses options for introducing a charging system for the recovery of costs. The work resulted in a share of benefits to commercial vessels of 76% and to recreational vessels of 24% arising from the additional harbour control and safety services.


After discussions at central government level, the Council said it was left with no option but to use a bylaw to impose charges to help cover the additional costs of meeting its statutory responsibility. The Council’s proposal, which would see commercial users levied on a scale relating to gross tonnage, boat length and passenger numbers, has been widely canvassed amongst harbour users. The Risk Assessment placed 65% of the risk of accident with commercial vessels. The Council says it would not be economic to try and recover fees from recreational harbour users so their share of maintaining harbour safety will be drawn from general rates.


In the indicative charge regime of the report estimated annual revenues from the proposed charges would be $806,000 from ferry services, $120,000 from cruise vessels, $150,000 from cargo vessels, $66,000 from mussel vessels and in excess of $100,000 from other commercial operators.


Consultation on the navigation bylaws is underway and the public has until Friday March 27th to make their submissions. More details, including the proposed bylaws in full, are available through the Marlborough District Council website at www.marlborough.govt.nz

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