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Skipper's crew rolled joint before losing bearings and grounding boat

Jun 22, 2022 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
View the original article here.

Not clear whether the 67-year-old skipper inhaled

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A trawler skipper that ran his boat aground in New Zealand has admitted to safety breaches in the incident that occurred in 2019.

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The 67-year-old skipper reportedly lost his bearings near the Christchurch coast, shortly after one of the crew had rolled a cannabis joint, reports the New Zealand Herald.

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    Cops were trying to rescue a woman stuck on a drifting boat when they found something else and arrested her

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It’s not clear whether the skipper partook in smoking the joint but he admitted to safety breaches under the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Maritime Transport Act at a court hearing earlier this week.

He faces sentencing on August 23.

After failing to appear in court in Christchurch, the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, the skipper called in via video link and assured the judge he would be there in person for his sentencing.

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The skipper was fishing for tuna alongside his crew members, a 41-year-old woman and a 73-year-old retiree. Neither of whom had any commercial fishing experience.

The skipper, meanwhile, had reportedly stopped working as a fisherman in 2004, and worked two days as a skipper in 2018 before being relieved of his duties due to concerns about his ability to skipper the vessel, reports News Talk ZB.

The owner of the vessel reportedly told the skipper the autopilot was “a bit dickey” before they headed out to sea. Later, the skipper turned off the autopilot as it was manlfunctioning and navigated by sight.

By 9 p.m., the crew was lost and two hours later the woman on board made an emergency call, stating the skipper was having trouble breathing and steering the vessel in circles.

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Police tracked the location of the vessel and a paramedic braved the waves to swim out to the boat and save each member of the crew, one by one. The 73-year-old man reportedly suffered hypothermia following the rescue. The boat was hauled away from the beach where it ran aground days later.

Recreational cannabis remains illegal in New Zealand following a hotly-contested referendum in 2020. Medical cannabis is legal but difficult to access, according to advocates.

It’s not the first time cannabis and boating have led to trouble.

Last year, an Australian woman whose small boat ran into mechanical problems was later arrested when police responded to an emergency call and discovered cannabis on the vessel.

The 35-year-old woman was safely towed ashore during high winds and heavy rain but her good fortune stopped there. The police found that the boat was unregistered and without mandatory emergency equipment and seized an unidentified amount of methylamphetamine (ice) and cannabis from the vessel.

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Closer to home, police have reminded Ontarians that boating and cannabis don’t mix.

Under Section 253 of the Criminal Code of Canada, a person may not operate, assist in the operation of, or have care or control of a vessel while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both.

“Vessels” are not limited to motorized boats, but also include sailboats, kayaks and canoes. Ontario’s cannabis laws state a person can’t smoke, vape, eat or otherwise consume cannabis in a boat that is being driven or about to be driven. Boaters, however, can carry cannabis on a boat if the vessel is being used as a temporary or permanent living space.

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