11 Near Misses in Shipping Incidents Since Rena Grounding Prompts Call for Action
The New Zealand government has been informed of eleven (11) close calls or near misses regarding ship accidents – ranging from tankers to passenger vessels – since the infamous Rena disaster happened just over a year ago. Marine experts insist that this exemplifies the need for more enforced control.
From October 2011’s Rena grounding in the Bay of Plenty to the end of September 2012, Maritime New Zealand reported two (2) “near misses” involving passenger vessels, four (4) connected to containerships, two (2) close calls each in regards to tankers and cargo ships, and one (1) bulk carrier almost-incident. All of these ships were foreign-owned.
The New Zealand Herald defines a near-miss as any incident where a crash was avoided by luck or recovery.
This recent report comes at a time when governmental parties in New Zealand are again asking for obligatory shipping lanes for the country. Even the Rena’s captain has shown support of this concept. However, officials claim that shipping lanes are too costly to create and regulate.
Shipping experts, in rebuttal, have tracked numerous ships that come dangerously close to the coast nearly every two days; they are fighting for a better system. The Rena wreck was an eye-opener for the industry, but many believe that captains are again becoming complacent.
The event most documented was ships cutting too close when sailing to and from ports in the area. In one case, a cruise liner came so close to Mercury Rock that authorities believe they were navigating beyond their charts’ precision – highlighting the need for forced GPS-routing systems.
The government is being accused of softening the risk of other incidents similar to the Rena disaster, and not focusing on how to make coastal shipping safer. Transport Ministry officials have stated that required shipping lanes do not necessarily promise regulation compliance or prevent navigational errors.