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Cruise ship L’Austral grounding, fines total $100,000

Staff Writer |
A French cruise company and ship’s Master have been fined $70,000 and $30,000 respectively for endangering human life and entering a prohibited zone following an incident in the remote New Zealand Subantarctic islands.


French company Compagnie du Ponant and Captain Regis Daumesnil, a French citizen, were sentenced today in the Wellington District Court. They had pleaded guilty to charges following the 9 January 2017 grounding of the cruise ship L’Austral on an uncharted rock at the Snares Islands.

Both Maritime NZ and the Department of Conservation (DOC) brought charges against Captain Daumesnil, with DOC also prosecuting the company.

The Summaries of Fact stated L’Austral had inadequate “passage plans” and failed to monitor the ship’s position near hazards to navigation. As a result of the grounding the vessel’s hull was punctured in three places. Rather than return to Bluff, the nearest port, Captain Daumesnil made the decision to continue on the cruise schedule to the Auckland Islands, a further 285km south.

There were 356 passengers and crew onboard.

“More than 5 million birds, as well as sea lions, and whales breed there.”


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