Charter fishing vessel i-Catcher, Capsize, Goose Bay, Kaikōura, New Zealand, 10 September 2022
Occurrence Date
Report Publication Date
On 3 August 2023, the Commission published a preliminary report (see ‘Downloads’, right) in its ongoing inquiry into this accident.
Summarising key points:
- The i-Catcher was an 8-metre aluminium pontoon charter fishing boat carrying a skipper and ten passengers photographing sea birds.
- It capsized after contact with what initial inquiries suggest was a whale.
- The skipper and five passengers were rescued from the upturned hull.
- Five other passengers were in the air pocket inside the boat. In the air pocket, petrol on the water surface almost certainly came from flaws in the fuel system, undetected in survey inspections. Those passengers died.

Safety issue: Maritime New Zealand’s survey system does not adequately assure the integrity and safety of fuel systems. Maritime rules do not require that surveyors to inspect boats’ entire fuel systems.

TAIC Recommendations to Maritime NZ relate to:
- Ensuring the integrity and safety of fuel systems through the survey system.
- Surveyors’ professional practice around fuel system inspections.
- All industry stakeholders’s awareness of the importance of complete fuel system inspections.

The Commission is continuing with a full inquiry into this accident. A final report, setting out findings, safety issues and further recommendations, if any, will be issued at the completion of this inquiry. Lines of inquiry include, but are not limited to: cause of capsize; survey systems; life jacket education; and emergency response to maritime accidents.
Goose Bay, south of Kaikōura (-42.483900,173.538299) [may be approximate]