New Zealand’s Transport Accident Investigation Commission, TAIC, has expressed concern regarding the inherent risk of SAR work and how the sense of urgency associated with such work can adversely affect decision-making following investigations into four incident involving Coastguard Newzealnd vessels. Although the TAIC’s recommendations are aimed at coastguard SAR operations some of the lessons should be borne in mind in situations of urgency.
On 4 March 2009, the Tutukaka Coastguard vessel Dive! Tutukaka Rescue was tasked to assist a recreational vessel in difficulty in Ngunguru Bay south of Tutukaka. It was night-time and the sea condition was rough. The crew of the Coastguard vessel became so focused on locating the vessel in difficulty that they lost awareness of where their own vessel was and struck a rock at a moderate speed. The Dive! Tutukaka Rescue was extensively damaged and several crew members were seriously injured in the collision.