The French cruise company Ponant and a ship's master were ordered to pay fines totalling US$100,000. They were found to have endangered human life following an accident in a prohibited zone in remote New Zealand Subantarctic Islands.
The cruise company and Captain Regis Daumesnil were sentenced in Wellington District Court after Maritime New Zealand and Department of Conservation brought charges against them.
Capt. Daumesnil pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary danger to the crew and passengers onboard under Maritime Transport Act 1994 and to entering a 300-metre exclusion zone around the isles, resulting in him receiving a US$30,000 fine.
The cruise company was also fined US$70,000 after it pleaded guilty to entering a 300-metre exclusion zone around the isles which was a breach of Resource Management Act 1991.
The summary of facts revealed there was a failure to monitor the vessel's position close to hazards and as a result of ship's grounding its hull was punctured.
On January 9, last year, the ship L’Austral, with 356 passengers onboard arrived at Snares Islands and eventually entered a restricted zone where the ship's stern grounded on an uncharted rock 220m from shore.
At the time of grounding the ship was being navigated without following any passage plan, according to GPS positions.
The Court ordered that 90% of fine laid under Resource Management Act charges be awarded to Doc (Department of Conservation), on behalf of Minister of Conservation, as local authority for Subantarctic Islands.
For other L'Austral accidents and incidents see at the ship's CruiseMinus page.