3 May 2018

Poor pilot training blamed for cruise ship accident

1:10 pm on 3 May 2018

Poor pilot training and miscommunication led to a cruise ship with more than 1000 passengers hitting rocks at the Tory Channel entrance, an investigation has found.

The 'Azamara Quest' carries about 700 guests in butler-serviced staterooms, plus about 400 crew.

The Azamara Quest Photo: Azamara Club Cruises.

The Maltese-flagged Azamara Quest was en route to Picton in the Marlborough Sounds on 27 January 2016 when it struck Wheki Rock, damaging the hull and propeller.

No one was injured.

The Trainsport Accident Investigation Commission report released today found there was miscommunication between the master of the ship and the Port of Marlborough pilot, which meant the tight turn needed to enter the passage started too late.

Lead investigator Tim Burfoot said the miscommunication was the main factor in the collision.

"The main problem was that the pilot who was trying to integrate with the normal navigating team, the bridge team, were not on the same page so to speak - they didn't have a shared understanding of how that first critical initial turn was going to be made into Tory Channel."

Pilots were now required to use simulators to practice, Mr Burfoot said.

With no agreed plan to deal with the tide and strong currents, the bridge team was "set up to fail", the report said.

The commission has previously found poor bridge management under pilotage to be a factor contributing to accidents involving two other ships in New Zealand.

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