Community, Crime

Witnesses sought for marina smash

Alcohol could be to blame after a boat smashed into Picton’s wharf.

The boat, from Wellington was heading into Picton Marina on Friday about 5pm when it crashed into the wharf, near the Coat Hanger bridge.

Witnesses to the crash are being sought by Picton Harbour Master Luke Grogan as prosecution is a possibility.

He says he believes drink may have contributed to the crash, which left a hole of around two-and-a-half metres square.

“It was apparent to me that there had been alcohol involved. We need to find out whether that was a factor in what happened.

“Looking at CTV there were quite a number of people who saw it. It was early evening and a nice day and people had just been leaving work,

“We need to put together elements and see what factors were involved.

“I’d be very keen to hear from anyone who saw it happen or indeed saw the boat arrive in the marina,” he says.

The Sun Dancer travelled across the Cook Strait into Picton and speed has also not been ruled out as a factor, says Luke.

The Sun Dancer smashed into the wharf on Friday. Photo: Supplied.

There is a five-knot speed limit within 200 metres of the shore. Fixed speed cameras were also rolled out in Marlborough in October 2017.

“We need to look at the facts and evaluate if there’s been a breach of the Maritime Safety Act”.

Police were called to the scene on Friday and spoke to people on the boat.

The Marina is owned by Port Marlborough and Maritime New Zealand would be the most likely party to take enforcement action.

In the first instance, it is Marlborough District Council and the harbor master who oversee the initial investigation.

Luke says that inappropriate behavior is sadly not unusual.

“Unfortunately, it’s not an unusual case to have behavior that’s less than ideal.

“We want to connect with as many people as possible who saw what happened.

“From that we’re starting to build a picture of what happened and to see if speed or alcohol contributed,” he says.

Picton offers permanent and visitor berths for vessels from eight to 35 metres plus.

Port Marlborough infrastructure manager Gavin Beattie says he hopes repair work would start in the next week.

He says he did not think the rebuild would be too expensive in terms of cost.

“It doesn’t affect the structure, but we would want it repaired reasonably quickly to keep boats and wash away.

“The broken timber pickets will need to be removed and new ones put in place”.

Port Marlborough maintain a regular program of on-going maintenance, says Gavin, who has been manager at the busy port since 2012.

Anyone who witnessed the crash or has information that may be useful to the investigation should contact the harbour master via [email protected] or contact 520 7400.

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