Update #1 MO-2016-201 Passenger vessel fire at sea, off Whakatane

20 Jan 2016

Two Transport Accident Investigation Commission investigators have been in Whakatane since mid-morning today (19 Jan) beginning the evidence gathering for the Commission’s inquiry into yesterday’s charter boat fire in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, off Whakatane.

They have been setting up and starting interviews, speaking with the operating company, and begun to collect documentary evidence.

The first interview priority is the crew, with contact information available for the passengers who were all pre-booked.

The investigators expect to be in Whakatane until Thursday, at least, and will return as required during the evidence gathering phase.

Decisions on any underwater inspection or salvage of the sunken wreck will be made by the Commission once its potential value can be assessed against other evidence as it is collected.

A typical inquiry is expected to take between one or two years to complete, although an interim report or urgent safety recommendations could be issued at any time should these be warranted.