Auckland charter company and skipper charged with death of 25-year-old man who fell overboard

An Auckland charter company has been charged after a 25-year-old woman died in April last year.

Danielle Tamarua died from serious injuries after falling overboard from a Zefiro Charters boat in Waitematā Harbor on April 1, 2021.

Tamarua was on board with other staff from LittleWolf Catering, which she had recently joined as a part-time chef.

Maritime New Zealand has now brought a claim against Zefiro Charters Ltd and its skipper, who are due to appear in Auckland District Court.

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Danielle Tamarua, 25, died after falling overboard from a boat in Waitamatā Harbor on April 1.

Provided

Danielle Tamarua, 25, died after falling overboard from a boat in Waitamatā Harbor on April 1.

Court documents allege the captain allowed passengers to be at the bow of the ship while it was underway, causing unnecessary danger or risk.

The skipper is also responsible for operating, maintaining or servicing any vessel without holding a valid medical certificate.

Zefiro Charters Ltd has been charged under the Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to comply with its obligations and this failure put anyone at risk of death or serious injury.

This included failing to provide the crew with adequate training to ensure that the shipping operator’s aircraft was implemented so that passengers could not be in the front of the vessel.

Adequate signage or barriers were intended to prevent passengers from accessing the bow of the vessel and the company was expected to manage risk and apply appropriate control measures in relation to alcohol-involved events.

Zefiro is further accused of operating the ship when its captain did not have a current medical certificate.

The skipper could face 12 months in jail or a maximum fine of $10,000, while the company could face a maximum fine of $1.5 million.

Police and Maritime New Zealand staff at the Auckland Viaduct basin after the incident.

David White / Stuff

Police and Maritime New Zealand staff at the Auckland Viaduct basin after the incident.

Tamarua’s mother, Iti Tamarua, previously said her daughter’s death was a further blow to the family as she had just lost her husband David around two years ago.

A Coastguard spokesman said at the time the chartered vessel contacted its center in Mechanics Bay to say two people from the boat had gone overboard.

The two people were quickly brought back on the charter, but Tamarua, who died, had suffered serious injuries in the incident.

Charter boat owners Lawrence Knight and Ben Mostert have previously said their thoughts are with the family and friends of the deceased.

“We are shocked and devastated by the events that have unfolded,” they said in a statement.

“We are currently working with the police and New Zealand Maritime who have our full cooperation and will carry out our own independent investigation to determine what happened.”

The company’s website stated that Zefiro was “no longer accepting charters”.

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