Questions raised over fishing boat's path
Tue, 24 Jul 2012 9:27p.m.
Questions have been raised in court about whether a protesting fishing boat crossed the path of an oil exploration ship off the East Coast after police arrested its skipper and took over the wheel.
Elvis Teddy, the 44-year-old skipper of the Te Whanau a Apanui fishing boat San Pietro, is defending Maritime Transport Act charges of breaching an exclusion zone set up around the Brazilian-owned Petrobras ship Orient Explorer when it surveyed the Raukumara basin last year.
His four-day hearing began in Tauranga District Court on Monday. He faces a maximum penalty of 12 months' jail or a fine of $10,000.
On Tuesday, Teddy's defence lawyer Ron Mansfield asked a senior police officer who boarded the San Pietro whether it was possible it only crossed the Orient Explorer's path when police boarded and arrested Teddy on April 23 last year.
The officer said police were concerned for safety of the San Pietro and that he thought the larger ship would "just run over" the fishing boat.
The Orient Explorer was towing a sonar array attached to a 16km cable. An exclusion zone prevented other shipping from approaching within 900m of its path and 6km from the stern or the sonar cable.
On Monday, prosecutor David Pawson told the court Teddy took his boat directly into the path of the Orient Explorer, deployed buoys tied together with rope, and trailed tuna fishing lines over the stern of his boat.
Teddy said over the radio he was exercising customary fishing rights.
Mr Pawson said he then ignored repeated warnings from police that he was breaching the exclusion zone.
The hearing continues.
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6/08/2012 10:43:04 a.m.
David Pawson doesn't know what he is talking about. He should intrepret legislation properly. The skipper of San Pietro has not committed any breaches.
24/07/2012 11:26:05 p.m.
The San Pietro does not sound like a customary Maori canoe. I would have thought someone claiming customary rights would be using customary tools of trade. I guess he was excercising customary hypocrisy.
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