10 Oct 2012

Nothing gained by charging skipper's widow, says father

6:42 am on 10 October 2012

The father of one of the victims of the Easy Rider sinking says he's worried the skipper's widow is being used as a scapegoat for the tragedy.

Eight people died when the fishing vessel went down while on a trip to gather mutton birds in Foveaux Strait, off Stewart Island, on 15 March this year.

Gloria Davis is the sole director of the company, AZ1 Enterprises, which owned the Easy Rider. She is charged with allowing the boat to operate knowing that her husband Rewai Karetai did not have a current skipper's certificate.

Ms Davis is also charged with not taking all steps necessary to ensure the safety of those on board. AZ1 Enterprises is charged with five similar offences.

Barry Bethune, whose son Shaun Bethune drowned, says Ms Davis should not be blamed.

"She wasn't the skipper of the boat, and although she might on paper be part of a company that owns it, it's not really her fault that Rewai took those people out there that night.

"I just don't think that anything gets gained by looking for a scapegoat, really."

The editor of Professional Skipper Magazine, Keith Ingram, says the incident is indicative of a wider problem.

While he has sympathy for the skipper's family, he says people must stop ignoring basic safety requirements.