A boat captain’s widow was charged Tuesday with failing to ensure crew safety on their fishing vessel that sank off New Zealand in March, killing her husband and seven other people.
Maritime authorities also claim boat co-owner Gloria Davis failed to ensure her husband Rewai Karetai, 47, held a valid captain’s certificate.
A distraught Davis said the charges are a shock to her and other relatives of those who had drowned.
“We’re still all in grieving mode,” she said. She said she was not in a frame of mind to make a “clear, concise statement” now but would comment later.
The Easy Rider had three crew and six passengers. One victim was 7-year-old Odin Karetai, a relative of the captain’s.
The lone survivor, a deckhand, clung to the overturned boat until it sank and then to a gas container. He was in the water 18 hours before he was rescued. He told authorities the boat was hit by a rogue wave in poor weather conditions.
The charges against Davis do not specify what safety failures are being alleged, but the survivor and the four victims whose bodies were recovered were not wearing life jackets, according to authorities. And if the boat had an emergency locator beacon, police say, it wasn’t activated when the boat capsized.
Company records list Davis as the sole director of AZ1 Enterprises which operated the Easy Rider and Davis and Karetai as joint shareholders.
If found guilty, Davis could face up to two years in prison and fines of more than 250,000 New Zealand dollars ($206,000).
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