Independent investigation into Enchanter sinking

21 Mar 2022

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) has opened an inquiry into the incident involving the fishing boat “Enchanter’ off North Cape on the night of 20/21 March 2022.

A protection order has been placed on all remains of the “Enchanter” to protect evidence. Anyone finding debris should report this to the police. 

TAIC investigators in the Far North will be speaking to people who may have information about the “Enchanter” and encourages people with information to come forward. 

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission opens an inquiry when it believes the circumstances of an accident or incident have - or are likely to have - significant implications for transport safety, or when the inquiry may allow the Commission to make findings or recommendations to improve transport safety.

The purpose of the Commission, under law, is to improve transport safety by avoiding repeat accidents, rather than by ascribing blame.



The Commission is established by the Transport Accident Investigation Commission Act 1990. The Commission's corporate form is an independent Crown entity subject to the provisions of the Crown Entities Act 2004.

The Commission’s powers enable it to carry out its inquiries, and includes the power to prohibit access to an accident site, to inspect and remove records, and to secure physical evidence. Some of its powers are provided under the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908.

The Commission is required by law to act independently from the Government, regulatory agencies, and transport operators when conducting its investigations. Investigations by other authorities into compliance with transport regulations, occupational health and safety issues, or possible criminal activity, must be undertaken independently from the Commission. The Commission co-ordinates with other investigations seeking access to an accident scene or physical evidence.

Statements and submissions made to the Commission, as well as certain investigation records, are protected records that can only be disclosed for the purposes of the Commission’s inquiry. This reflects the purpose of the Commission which is to increase transport safety by avoiding repeat accidents, rather than ascribing blame. Similarly, the Commission’s reports cannot be used in regulatory, criminal or civil proceedings, but can be used in a Coroner’s inquiry.