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Maritime rule changes up for discussion

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/04/2017

Fishing boats docked in Tauranga, New Zealand. © Hannah Peters/Getty Images Fishing boats docked in Tauranga, New Zealand. Making automatic "float-free" distress beacons compulsory for more commercial fishing boats are among mooted changes to six maritime rules.

Maritime NZ director Keith Manch says the proposal comes from coroners' and Transport Accident Investigation Commission recommendations.

Over the past 11 years, 24 people have died after the sinking of inshore fishing boats.

Emergency position-indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs) that were manually activated were carried on those boats but, for various reasons, the crews were unable to activate them.

Under present rules, fishing boats operating more than 200 nautical miles from New Zealand's coast must have EPIRBs that automatically float free of a sinking vessel and activate.

Fishing boats operating inside that limit must have either "float-free" or manually-activated EPIRBs.

Mr Manch says the proposal would apply to vessels between six and 24 metres operating outside harbours, estuaries and other inland or sheltered waters.

He says the five other proposed rule changes apply to various types of vessels and remove outdated requirements, allow for new technology and reduce compliance costs.

The public consultation period begins on Thursday, with submissions due by May 14.

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