Classic yacht Arcturus, pictured here sailing in Huruhi Bay in 2019, when a pleasure craft skippered by Jae-Ho Huh collided with her.

A collision on the Hauraki gulf near Rangitoto ended in a Maritime New Zealand prosecution for an Auckland boat owner. Jae-Ho Huh was pleasure boating with three others in March 2020 when his 11-metre launch collided with the schooner SV Arcturus while on autopilot and travelling between 15-20 knots. (Boats within 50 metres of another vessel are required to travel at five knots or less.)

According to prosecutors, Huh appeared not to notice his craft was on a heading towards the stern of the Arcturus, despite being yelled and gesticulated at by the schooner’s crew. Huh only realised he was on a collision course some 15 metres from impact – too late to switch off the autopilot and change course. The Arcturus had 10 people on board, including the skipper’s 13-year-old son, who was thrown overboard by the force of the impact.

Another adult male passenger and a 12- year-old boy also ended in the water after jumping from the vessel to avoid injury.

The boys were pulled back on board by the skipper, but the man could not be rescued initially, as he had drifted with the current.

Huh attempted to rescue him by changing his vessel’s course but almost ran him over, and the vessel collided a second time with the Arcturus.

In a statement, Maritime New Zealand Northern Compliance Manager Neil Rowarth said the incident “was entirely avoidable”, and added that safe boating should be paramount.

• Jim Birchall

Full story in this week’s Gulf News… Out Now!!!


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