December 11, 2023

‘We live with this every day’: Enchanter skipper charged over North Cape fishing tragedy that killed five

Watch: Maritime New Zealand has revealed to Newshub it is laying charges against the Enchanter fishing charter company and its skipper Lance Goodhew after the deaths of five Waikato men off North Cape last year.

The skipper of the Enchanter charter boat that capsized off North Cape on March 20 last year, killing five Waikato men, is being charged following a year-long investigation by Maritime NZ.

Lance Goodhew will face one charge under section 48 of the Health and Safety at Work Act and his company will face two charges, after the Enchanter was capsized by a rogue wave as the group of 10 was returning home from a big game fishing trip at the Three Kings Islands.

Along with Goodhew, Waikato men Ben Stinson, Shay Ward, Jayde Cook, and Northland deckhand Kobe O’Neill also survived.

Maritime NZ director Kirstie Hewlett confirmed charges have been filed in the Kaitaia District Court and that Goodhew is facing one charge. She says two charges have been filed against the charter company, one under section 48 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and one under section 67B of the Maritime Transport Act 1994.

“Maritime NZ’s investigation included interviews with a range of people, understanding the weather and sea state on the days of the journey, reviewing the design and construction of the vessel, its maintenance, the culture and processes of the organisation and the navigation of the journey,” Hewlett said.

“We have recently been in contact with those impacted by this tragic incident to inform them of our decision to prosecute.”  

“As the matter is now before the Court, we will not be commenting further until proceedings are completed.”

Those who died in the disaster were:

  • Geoffrey James Allen, aged 72, from Cambridge 
  • Mark Keith Walker, also known as “Skid”, aged 41, from Cambridge 
  • Mark Kenneth Sanders, aged 43, from Te Awamutu 
  • Michael Patrick Lovett, aged 72, from Cambridge 
  • Richard Eldon Bright, aged 63, from Cambridge.

The survivors and families of Sanders, Walker, Allen, Bright and Lovett, have told Newshub the charges against Goodhew are a lot to digest as they prepare to commemorate the anniversary.

In the year since the maritime disaster, Goodhew has never contacted the widows or acknowledged the loss of their loved ones.

Several of them have told Newshub that lack of contact has been both “surprising and pretty disappointing”.

Goodhew, through his partner Leeann Mist, spoke exclusively to Newshub on Monday, saying they are yet to hear the details of Maritime New Zealand’s allegations.

“In relation to the tragedy our thoughts have been, and always will be with the whanau and friends of all those who lost their lives,” said Mist on behalf of Goodhew.

“They have been first and foremost in our thoughts every day, we live with this every day,” Mist said.

Goodhew is, however, back out on the water. His company purchased a new boat within weeks of the tragedy. 

For the five who never made it home from that bucket list trip, that’s a luxury they no longer have.

Goodhew will be summoned to appear in the Kaitaia District Court.

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