A yacht skipper who compelled a container vessel to change its course in the Tauranga Harbour was infringed by the Harbourmaster of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.
The incident occurred on 5 June as the container vessel was sailing toward the Port of Tauranga in the Matakana channel.
The ship repeatedly attempted to alert the yacht by blasting the horn five times. But there was no response or change in the course of the yacht. The vessel was compelled to change its course.
Per the Regional Navigation Safety Bylaw, a skipper of a vessel below 500 gross tonnages in the Tauranga pilotage area can not impede any vessel’s navigation beyond 500 gross tonnages.
Jon Peters, the Harbourmaster, has reported that there’s a moving prohibited zone in the Matakana channel that is meant to protect smaller boats.
This indicates that skippers must avoid navigating 500 meters in front of and 50 meters on either side of large vessels.
There was a patrol boat in that area, and the yacht skipper was spoken to following the incident.
Per maritime law, the skipper was fined $200, the maximum amount.
References: NZ Herald, Scoop Independent News