Sunday, September 7, 2014

New Zealand: Foreign Adventure Travel Enthusiasts Urged to Consider Risks Before the Fact

According to http://www.stuff.co.nz, charges have been filed against the director of a charter company whose boat propeller killed a diver on a commercial tour.

Dive Spot and its director Mark Barnes have been charged by Maritime New Zealand following the death of Auckland resident Bruce Porter in February 2014. 
Porter, 56, was killed after suffering serious facial injuries from the propeller on a diving trip to the Poor Knights Islands, east of Whangarei.
He belonged to the Western Underwater Dive Club, which chartered a catamaran captained by Barnes who is also director of the charter company, The Dive Spot.
Maritime New Zealand launched an investigation and confirmed to THE SUNDAY STAR-TIMES, that it had filed charges against Barnes' company who trades under the name Pacific Hideaway Charters, for failing to ensure that no action of its employee harmed any person.
As the employee of that company, and the one who skippered the vessel, Barnes was also charged with the same offense.
Both carry maximum penalties of $250,000.
COMMENT: I have often said in recent years that international standards of care where adventure travel operations can be found vary widely in terms of best-practices, which is why I urge caution when participating in high-risk recreational opportunities.
A Maritime New Zealand spokesman said since the matter was before the courts it wouldn't comment further. A court date has been set for September 29 at the Whangarei District Court.
The charges are the latest in a series of prosecutions Maritime New Zealand has made against commercial companies as the result of tourists being injured by propellers.

See the below links to previous STAYING SAFE ABROAD postings:

http://stayingsafeabroad.blogspot.com/2013/05/new-zealand-mandatory-drug-testing

http://stayingsafeabroad.blogspot.com/2013/05/new-zealand-update-nz-pm-responds-badly

In May, Explore NZ and the boat's captain Mark James Vezey were prosecuted after an Australian tourist was injured by a propeller on a dolphin swimming trip to the Bay of Islands in March 2013.
In December 2011, Picton-based operator Dolphin Watch and Eco Nature Tours was convicted and fined $55,000 in the Blenheim District Court after another tourist was nearly killed after becoming entangled in the propeller of its boat Delphinus.
The father of a British tourist who drowned on a commercial white river trip in Kawerau said the government had done little to prevent further tragedies.
Emily Jordan's death in 2009 prompted a national inquiry into adventure tourism safety standards when she drowned on a Mad Dog River trip after becoming trapped under submerged boulders.
A British inquest into the death found the company's staff were inadequately trained and required equipment was absent, its lifejackets were unsuitable and a rescue craft was unavailable.
Her father, Chris Jordan, said  "nothing has really changed" since her death.
The Adventure Tourism review had failed to bring about enough changes in the sector, he said.
Mark Barnes' wife and co-owner of Pacific Hideaway Charters, Denise Barnes, refused to comment on the charges.


Mark Barnes' wife and co-owner of Pacific Hideaway Charters, Denise Barnes, refused to comment on the charges.
Mark Barnes' wife and co-owner of Pacific Hideaway Charters, Denise Barnes, refused to comment on the charges.