Nelson-based fishing company Sealord has been fined $63,400
and ordered to pay $12,500 reparations after a fisherman
ruptured his spleen in unsafe working conditions on board one
of its vessels.
James Billingham was helping prepare the vessel Ocean Dawn
for departure in Nelson when he overbalanced and fell five
metres through a hatch and into the ship's hold.
He was taken to hospital and diagnosed with fractured ribs
and a sprained thumb.
However, later that day he was readmitted suffering severe
abdominal pain and underwent emergency surgery to remove his
Sealord pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to ensure the
safety of an employee in September.
Judge Tony Zohrab fined the company $63,400 and ordered it to
pay $12,500 in reparations to Billingham.
Maritime New Zealand director Keith Manch said Billingham
would not have fallen if the company had put a hatch cover in
"Just identifying the hazard, and minimising it by informing
employees - as Sealord had - isn't enough.
The legislation clearly states steps must first be taken to
eliminate or isolate the hazard, before minimisation can be
Manch said the prosecution showed Maritime New Zealand was
committed to improving the safety of the fishing industry by
whatever means necessary.
- Hayden Donnell