Bolton gives his evidence to the Court – these essential quotes are taken from the transcripts of a dialogue with The Judge, G Davis
1: Classique’s heading was from Auckland, passing Nth Browns Island on about 80*T intending to anchor at South West Motuihe for repairs & maintenance, when the usual 10 am rollon/rolloff Ferry was observed about 3nmiles away on a reciprocal course approaching Sth Motuihe from Waiheke. Conditions – High tide, no current, slight Easterly breeze, sheltered, no waves.
2: At Sth Motuihe, 2 nmiles away, the ferry turned towards Classique which was now leaving the area Nth of Browns where the ferry would be expected to go following the course to Auckland from whence Classique had come.
3: Bolton explains how his method of using a “Line of sight transferred to the background” is better than a Relative Bearing to determine Risk of Collision – “it’s entirely dependant on a bearing from my vessel, across the ferry to the background. As the ferry proceeds the line will move left, right or not at all, amplified like the end of a spoke as a wheel turns compared with the movement at the hub – it is not dependant, as the Relative Bearing is, that I keep a straight course.”
4: At that point Bolton determines with clear movement on the background, there is no risk of collision & the ferry will pass safely astern of Classique as each proceeds on their present courses & speed.
5: Classique continued out from Browns about 1/2 a nmile & although the ferry had not turned there as expected, Bolton determined that as long as he proceeded forward, the ferry would have more clearance astern of Classique if the ferry kept a straight course past that point of Browns Island
6: Bolton was in his wheelhouse at the controls & could’ve increased speed if necessary to avoid impeding the progress of the ferry which is normal practise in the vicinity of a commercial vessel.
7: He had the impression that the ferry had been following Classique up but there was no indication from the ferry that anything was of concern until the ferry went past as fast as a rollon/rolloff ferry would be expected to go with its skipper M Pigneyguy, leaning out his window fumbling a small aerosol horn, giving about 2 faint hoots – that is the signal indicating a turn to port but the ferry continued inexplicably towards Rangitoto.
8: Apart from that, as far as Bolton was concerned there was no problem, until he got a call from the Harbourmaster’s office the next week, to come down to hear about this complaint & see the 3 photos. Bolton immediately saw there was something not right about the photos – the ferry didn’t look as close when it passed as the photo suggested & the ferry seemed to have gone out of its way to create something which certainly didn’t need to be happening.
9: The accompanying Maritime incident report also read as an impossibility & a violation of Collision Regulations on the part of the ferry – M Pigneyguy, in the time of 10 seconds available at the speed he was travelling, could not have sounded his warning sequences at the unrealistic 80 mtrs off Classique. The ferry should’ve sounded 1 nmile away on a ship’s horn complying with the audibility & frequency of Appendix 3
Judge Davis asks questions about this revelation …
M Pigneyguy drew this chart of his course from Waiheke, turning at Motuihe &
a straight course to point of Incident. Classique’s course, the bearing from Sky Tower &
red notes & lines have been added subsequently by Bolton.