Talley’s ordered to pay $94,000 after death of crewman

New Zealand-based fishing company Talley’s Group has been fined NZ$73,520 (US$52,000) and ordered to pay NZ$21,000 in reparations to the family of a crewman who was killed when a broken rope snapped back while hauling in a net full of tuna.

Leighton Muir, 24, was decapitated by the snapped rope aboard the ‘Capt. M.J. Souza’ on July 22, 2014, when the vessel was fishing near Kiribati.

Talley’s pleaded guilty to a charge laid by Maritime NZ of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employees while at work. The company was sentenced on June 9, 2016 in Nelson District Court.

The court was told that a 50-millimetre safety rope connected to the purse seine net had previously snapped three weeks before Mr Muir died but had not been replaced, despite a replacement rope being available onboard.

Instead, a knot had been tied in the rope and it continued to be used. The cause of the breakage was not investigated by the company.

In 2015 Talley’s was found guilty of the same charge after crewman Cain Adams died after falling 6.9 metres through an open hatch on the same vessel, while in port in Nelson. The company was fined NZ$48,000 and ordered to pay NZ$35,000 in reparations.