Maritime NZ welcomes sentencing of Master

The prosecution of a ship’s Master with five times the legal breath alcohol limit has been welcomed by Maritime New Zealand.

Parmod Kumar, Master of the African Harrier, pleaded guilty on 23 March 2015 in the Tauranga District Court, to the charge under s40B of the Maritime Transport Act – the first person to be prosecuted since a change to the legislation in October 2013. He was fined $3,000.

The vessel was due to leave Tauranga on Sunday 22 March, but the Pilot expressed concern to Maritime NZ that the Master was under the influence of alcohol.

After visiting the vessel and speaking to the Master and testing him with an onboard breath test kit, the Maritime NZ staff member asked the Police to test the man.

A breath test at Tauranga Police Station showed the man had a breath alcohol level of 1229 micrograms per litre, almost five times the legal limit of 250mg/l, and the man was charged by the Police.

Maritime NZ Director Keith Manch said the prosecution and sentence should send a strong message to the maritime industry.

“This sort of conduct by the Master of a vessel cannot be tolerated,” he said. “This outcome is the result of good cooperation between the Port of Tauranga, the Pilot, Maritime NZ, and the Police.

“The vast majority of Masters take their responsibilities very seriously but in this case it was clear that firm action was required.”