Simon Bridges announced:
The first reflagging of a foreign charter fishing vessel as New Zealand-registered is good news for foreign crews fishing in our waters, and for New Zealand’s international reputation, say Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Labour Minister Simon Bridges.
The Ukrainian fishing vessel FV Mainstream, chartered by Independent Fisheries, was today officially reflagged, bringing it under New Zealand labour, and health and safety laws.
The reflagging, carried out by Maritime New Zealand, required Independent Fisheries to ensure the vessel fully complied with New Zealand maritime rules and the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992. Reflagging also requires the crew to have appropriate New Zealand-equivalent qualifications.
“The Government is committed to making it compulsory for all foreign charter fishing vessels to be reflagged by 2016, following concerns raised in a Ministerial inquiry last year into safety, labour, and fishing practices,” says Mr Guy.
Mr Bridges says reflagging brings the crew of foreign charter vessels under the protection of New Zealand law in terms of labour conditions and health and safety.
This is a welcome step that one ship has already reflagged.
The conditions on some FCVs was akin to slavery. There was physical and sexual abuse as well as multiple breaches of NZ laws (which could not be enforced). It had to end, and I’m proud the Government decide to do so.
Not all FCVs were a problem. In fact as I understand it the Ukranian ones had relatively few problems. It tended to be the Korean ones than used Indonesian labour. What will be interesting is when they reflag – if they do at all.