Skipper admits trawler grounding charge

The skipper of the trawler The Lady Sarah has admitted a charge of failing to ensure a proper look-out was kept before its grounding on Kaitorete Spit near Lake Ellesmere.

The 22m vessel went aground in December 2016 and remained on the shingle shore for two weeks before it was broken into pieces and moved to a contractor’s yard.

Skipper Christopher Lee Jarman, 35, of Heathcote Valley, today pleaded guilty to a charge under the Maritime Transport Act, of failing to keep the look-out and causing unnecessary danger or risk to property or persons, including the crew.

The three crew members landed safely when the 129 tonne fishing boat ran aground and sent out a distress signal at 2am on December 15, 2016.

A charge of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act was withdrawn before Jarman entered his guilty plea.

Prosecutor Heather McKenzie said no summary of facts about the case had been agreed yet, and it was not handed to Judge David Saunders nor read in court. It will be provided for the sentencing which has been set for May 11.

Judge Saunders said he would not call for a pre-sentence report because he expected a community-based sentence would be imposed.

But he asked for submissions by defence and prosecution about how the case should be disposed of. That should include information about the likely consequences for Jarman and any professional certificates that he held.

The charge indicates that he holds an Inshore Launchmaster Certificate.

Jarman was remanded at large – no bail was required.

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