May 7, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Petrobras protest and the Maritime Rules (FrogBlog)

1 min read

Im more accustomed to splashing around in a freshwater pond than being out on the high seas, but I do know enough about maritime navigation to know that a powered vessel that is underway is normally required to give way to a vessel that is fishing.

That principle is enshrined in both international navigation rules and New Zealands own Maritime Rules.

So I find it strange that when Te Whanau a Apanui-owned fishing vessel San Pietro deployed buoys and long-line fishing lines in the path of the Petrobras survey ship Ocean Explorer, it was the fishing vessels skipper, Elvis Teddy, whom Police chose to arrest and charge with endangering maritime safety.

The San Pietro is reported to have been 2.8km away from the Ocean Explorer, and to have been stationary, and fishing in a place Te Whanau a Apanui have a customary right to fish. Surely, if that were the case, the responsibility would have been on the Ocean Explorer to navigate around it. Te Whanau a Apanui lawyer Dayle Takitimu seems to agree.

Or am I missing something? This could be a very interesting court case indeed.

For more info, please check out FROGBLOG:

2 thoughts on “Petrobras protest and the Maritime Rules (FrogBlog)

  1. Maori Party wants answer on seismic testing and dead penguins

    The Maori Party has asked the government to declare whether it commissioned an environmental impact report on seismic testing in Raukumara Basin before it granted a permit to Petrobras.

    The request follows claims this morning from some people living along the East Coast that the testing might be the reason why a number of penguins have turned up dead on their beaches.

    "Many of our iwi attribute special significance to the penguin as taonga species,” Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell said.

    “We would be extremely distressed if these birds are being placed at any threat to their life as a result of 'human-induced' risks.’

    "There's no evidence that the testing is killing the birds but at the very least the Government should have made sure that an impact report was done before giving an exploration permit, which includes seismic testing activity, to Petrobras."

    The Maori Party has approached the Ministers of Conservation, Environment and the Acting Minister of Energy and Resources for an urgent investigation into the alleged claims.

    "We are calling on the Minister of Conservation to ask his Department to undertake necropsies as a matter of priority, in order to determine the cause of death of these precious sea-creatures.”

    The Maori Party asked the Crown Minerals Office this morning whether it had or got an impact report done before granting the permit to Petrobras, but no answer was forthcoming.

    Media contact: Renee Kiriona-Ritete – 04 817 9851 – 021 917 796

  2. Oil protester charged by police

    Police have laid charges against the skipper of a protest boat who was arrested while disrupting an oil survey ship yesterday.

    Elvis Teddy, the captain of San Pietro, was arrested for breaching the Maritime Transport Act after police boarded his boat yesterday morning amid protests against Brazilian company Petrobras's search for oil.

    Mr Teddy was charged with operating a vessel in unsafe manner under section 65 of the Maritime Transport Act, a police spokesman told NZPA today.

    He was released on bail last night to appear in court in Tauranga on Friday.
    Police said they were still reviewing evidence and may lay further charges.

    The maximum penalty for the offence is up to 12 months in prison or a fine of up to $10,000.

    San Pietro, manned by local iwi, was stationed, along with three other protest boats, in front of the survey ship Orient Explorer in the Raukumara Basin, off the coast of Gisborne, police said.

    After repeated warnings the three other boats moved away but the San Pietro stayed and deployed buoys and fishing lines in the path of the survey ship, causing "grave safety concerns" for the ship's master, Superintendent Bruce Dunstan said.

    After further warnings police, who had been stationed on nearby navy ships, boarded the San Pietro from inflatable boats.

    Mr Teddy was arrested and taken back to the navy warship HMNZS Taupo, and returned to Tauranga police station.

    Mr Dunstan said the arrest followed a "blatant safety breach".

    Mr Teddy's lawyer, Dayle Takitimu told Radio New Zealand he would challenge police claims the protesters acted dangerously.

    San Pietro was stationary and more than 1.5 nautical miles, or 2.8km, from the Orient Explorer when it radioed the ship to advise it of its location, Ms Takitimu said.
    Because the survey ship was moving, under collision regulations it had to give way to the San Pietro, she said.

    Before yesterday's arrest, tribal leader Rikirangi Gage radioed the captain of the Orient Explorer and told him he was not welcome in the waters.

    "We are defending tribal waters and our rights from reckless Government policies and the threat of deep sea drilling, which our hapu have not consented to and continue to oppose."

    San Pietro is owned by East Coast iwi Te Whanau a Apanui and is part of the flotilla including Greenpeace and the Nuclear Free Flotilla, in its third week of opposing deep sea oil drilling.

    The Maori Party is working on a bill that would force the Government to consult iwi before granting licences for offshore oil exploration.

    Petrobras is operating under a five-year licence granted by the Government and the Maori Party, which has a support agreement with National, has been accused of not doing enough to back iwi.

    Petrobras could not be reached for comment.


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