Marine company fined after boat explosion

By: Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment

A Mangawhai-based marine engineering company has today been fined following a boat explosion which left a customer, a contractor and company director injured in January last year.

Marine company fined after boat explosion
Marine company fined after boat explosion

Mangawhai Engineering & Marine Limited was fined $20,000 and ordered to pay reparations of $5,000 to each of the two victims in the North Shore District court.

"This was a serious incident, injuring three people, one of whom has permanent hearing loss as a result of the explosion," says the Ministry's General Manager Health and Safety for the Northern region, John Howard.

The court heard that on 24 January 2012 Mangawhai's Company Director was repairing a catamaran, while the boat's owner waited for the job to be finished. Another contractor was also working at the site in Black Swamp Road.

During the repair, a metal inert gas welder on the boat was struck, causing an explosion which destroyed the right side hull and lifted the deck from the left side.

The force of the blast knocked the contractor underneath the bench grinder where he was working some distance away. He sustained muscle and ligament damage to his knee and temporary hearing loss. The boat's owner sustained a perforated eardrum, and has permanent hearing loss as a result. The company director also sustained facial injuries following the explosion.

"The company owner performed a 'sniff' test to determine whether there was any hazardous vapour. This was completely inadequate for the repair he was carrying out," Mr Howard says.

"He had a responsibility to ensure his own safety along with that of the contractor and also to ensure his customer was safe. He should have used a more through system to ensure that hazardous vapours and moisture were not present inside the void of the hull to conduct the repair safely. Instead his customer now faces permanent hearing loss and his contractor suffered preventable injuries."

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