19 Apr 2012

Korean fishing company was 'safety-conscious'

1:31 pm on 19 April 2012

An official from Sajo Oyang, the Korean fishing company whose vessel sank off the South Island, has told an inquest in Wellington that the company has a safety conscious attitude.

Oh Gwan Leol has been giving evidence at an inquest being held in Wellington into the deaths of six fishermen aboard the Oyang 70 in August 2010.

The vessel foundered when its captain insisted on hauling aboard a bulging net of fish.

Mr Leol told the hearing his duties included managing vessel maintenance and he was satisfied the ship was properly maintained and complied with all relevant regulations.

He expressed surprise at reports detailing poor practices on the Oyang 70's last voyage, as he said none of the officers or crew had ever indicated concerns about the captain.

A deep-sea fishing expert earlier told the inquest that the safety culture on board the vessel was not impressive.

Andrew Leachman told the inquest that the captain's decision to continue hauling the fish aboard was a fatal flaw which compromised the ship's stability.

Mr Leachman also outlined deficiencies in safety culture on the ship, including watertight doors being left open.