There is a dispute out in the sea. The police must be able to arrest someone ... musn't they?

Here is what I understand to be happening at present on the seas far off the East Cape. A seismic testing vessel, the Orient Explorer, is under contract to Brazilian petrol giant Petrobras to conduct a survey of the Raukūmara Basin seabed. It's doing so pursuant to a permit issued back in the middle of last year by then Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee.

However, Greenpeace and at least some of the local iwi, te Whanau a Apanui, are not that happy about the prospect of deepwater oil wells one day working off the coast. So they have sent a gaggle of little ships out to protest this activity. The protest involves interfering with the Orient Explorer's navigation lines by placing swimmers in its path, thus forcing it to change direction (which, as I understand it, stuffs up the data record and makes the survey useless). As a result, the ship has suspended its operations for the moment.

Then cry 'Havoc', and release the dogs of war!

It's "economic sabotage" cries the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association, which says the Government should use either the Police or Navy to ensure that Greenpeace activists don’t further disrupt the vessel. It's getting in the way of "better jobs and better incomes" for New Zealanders, says John Key. (Better not tell Bill English, though - he'd be gutted to learn one of our key competitive advantages over Australia is under threat!) Judith Collins reportedly has "sought advice from Crown Law on the incident and the option of sending in the Navy had not been ruled out."

I don't claim to have any expertise on the issue of deep water oil production, and I've no special insight into the best energy path for New Zealand's economy in the next few decades. In so much as I've paid any attention to the topic, Rod Oram's Sunday Star-Times opinion piece from the weekend strikes me as pretty sensible - leading me to think that maybe Petrobras shouldn't be allowed to do what it wants to do in our seas. But let's put the substance of that argument to one side - Petrobras does have a permit to survey and the protestors are interfering with that activity ... so what now?

First up, the politicians should stf up. Or rather, they may by all means purse their lips and tut-tut at the economic recklessness of environmental activists and their foolish notions. But making comments such as "if the protest was happening on dry land, police would be able to do something about it" (John Key) crosses the line. Just in case there's any doubt about how things stand, let me set it out in bold: The Government cannot tell, and should not be seen to be telling, the police which potential offences they should investigate and which they should leave alone. But don't just take my word for it ... here's a judge saying the same thing;

"[L]ike every constable in the land, the Commissioner should be, and is, independent of the executive .... I hold it to be the duty of the Commissioner of Police, as it is of every chief constable, to enforce the law of the land. He must take steps so to post his men that crimes may be detected; and that honest citizens may go about their affairs in peace. He must decide whether or not suspected persons are to be prosecuted; and, if need be, bring the prosecution or see that it is brought; but in all these things he is not the servant of anyone, save of the law itself. No Minister of the Crown can tell him that he must, or must not, keep observation on this place or that; or that he must, or must not, prosecute this man or that one .... The responsibility for law enforcement lies on him. He is answerable to the law and to the law alone."

(Lord Justice Denning, in R v Commissioner of the Metropolis, ex parte Blackburn [1968] 2 QB 118 at 135.)

Now, I know the "John Key brand" is central to National's ongoing popularity, and I know Prime Ministers are expected to have an opinion on everything and be seen to be on top of all problems, but someone needs to take John Key aside and give him a good talking to about the concept of operational independence and the associated constitutional restraints on what he ought to speak about. Because this isn't the first time he's made this sort of slip, and even his fans think it isn't wise for him to do so.

Next thing, just because the protestors are interfering with something that Petrobras are legally entitled to do doesn't necessarily mean that the protestors are acting unlawfully. Or, to put it another way, acting Minister of Energy and Resources Hekia Parata is plain wrong to claim that “Democracy protects the right to protest but not to the extent of interfering with others’ rights".

Here's the legal position, as best I can untangle it in a couple of hours research. (So please, if I've messed up or missed something, tell me about it below!)

Petrobras' exploration permit exempts them from the general prohibition on exploring for petroleum under the Crown Minerals Act. So it provides a "right" (actually, in technical legal terms a "privilege") to conduct seismic testing, insofar as an otherwise existing legal duty ("do not explore for petroleum") has been lifted from them. But that right (actually, privilege) does not in and of itself confer any duties on any other person not to interfere with their testing. There is nothing, for example, in the Crown Minerals Act that says "it is an offence to hinder a permit holder when conducting a seismic survey", or the like.

So while Petrobras are engaged in a lawful activity - exercising their rights (actually, privileges) under law - so what? Because it also is lawful to sail a boat on the high seas, and to leap from that boat into the ocean (if you so choose) ... the default position in NZ is "unless the law says you can't, you can". Which means that, in and of themselves, the actions of Greenpeace and their allies also are an exercise of rights (actually privileges) under law. So what we have here are the exercise of two rights (actually, privileges) under law that have come into conflict. And that's all without having to talk about "the right to protest" or invoke the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, or anything else of that nature.

(The above also means John Key's comment that "if this was happening on dry land, the police could intervene" is completely misleading. On land, the land owner (who would be allowing Petrobras to survey) would be able to tell the protestors to get the hell off that land ... and the protestors would have a duty to comply, which the police could enforce as a matter of trespass. On the high seas, no-one can tell a New Zealand boat or individual to get off it, so the situation is completely different.)

So, given that both Petrobras and the protestors are exercising legal rights (actually privileges), how might the conflict between them be mediated by the law? The usual hook on which such matters are hung does not seem to be available here - alleging the protestors are engaged in "disorderly behaviour" under the Summary Offences Act won't work as by no stretch can the open sea some 35 nautical miles off the coast be called a "public place".

Well, there is a general prohibition in the Maritime Transport Act on "do[ing] any ... act in respect of any ship or maritime product in a manner which causes unnecessary danger or risk to any other person or to any property, irrespective of whether or not in fact any injury or damage occurs." But I'm not sure that this will cover the protestors' actions - the only real danger or risk created by their actions is to themselves, not anyone else.

So perhaps it will fall back on the police's general function under the Policing Act to "maintain public safety". If the the situation just gets "too dangerous", perhaps necessity will require the police to move in to remove the protestors (purely for their own good, of course). Well, OK ... but perhaps someone might remind the police of this new paternalist approach the next time someone announces their intention to embark on a rowing trip from New Zealand to South America, or wherever the "challenge" lies. Because otherwise the suspicion might arise that the police's concern about "safety" is all rather convenient.

Or, alternatively, the Police may decide that what is happening out in the ocean is something that doesn't actually involve them at all, because there is no legal basis for them to act - as opposed to the obvious political desire to see some pesky eco-freaks get out of the way of our glorious economic future. In which case, it will come down to a test of wills between Petrobras' deep pockets and the protestors' dedication to their cause. After all, not every dispute has to have a legal answer.

Or, alternatively, the Government may just rush through a law under urgency to make the protest unlawful.

Comments (51)

by nommopilot on April 12, 2011
nommopilot

"Or, alternatively, the Government may just rush through a law under urgency to make the protest unlawful."

from this government I'm picking urgent stupid legislation will be the winner on the day.

by Chris Webster on April 12, 2011
Chris Webster

Andrew:

pursuant to a permit issued back in the middle of last year by then Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee.

Permit 52707 (7 pages) was issued under s 25 Crown Minerals Act - requiring the permittee to do certain things: 'the exclusive right to explore for petroleum in the land described- granted for 5 years and subject to the CMA and all the regs and conditions of the permit.'

General Conditions

Permittee shall make all reasonable efforts to explore and delineate the petroleum resources ... in a systematic and efficient manner ... good exploration and mining practice ...

permittee must: comply with CMA and all other relevant legislative bits; and obtain any consents and approvals required under the RMA 1991 and any other Acts.

Its work program is both demanding and aggressive - to do certain things within certain time-frames; and if it fails to do some bits - shall either write a report or surrender the permit.

Or, alternatively, the Government may just rush through a law under urgency to make the protest unlawful.

It may not have to do this as Petrobras and the MINS could find comfort in:

S 35 (2) CMA : duration of permit: where the minister is satisfied that a permit holder has been prevented fromcommencing activities under said permit by delays in obtainining consents (did Petrobras apply to the regional council - is a) unknown b) and if so what type resource consent would the regional council grant - given its jurisdiction is limited (EEZ, Territorial Sea and continental margin - but I digress)): and those delays (in getting consents) have not been cased or contributed to by the permit holder - the minister may on the application of the permit holder , defer or amend that commencement date of the permit.

The Crown Minerals Act 1991 discusses 'land' covered by water and also the foreshore and seabed to the outer limits of the territorial sea.

Territorial sea means the TS of NZ as described by s 3 Territorial Sea and Exclusive Zone Act 1977 -- which I think - and I may be wrong - kills the ability of the regional council to 'issue consents under the RMA 1991'.

There are many government agencies involved in this exploration business.

MED for instance grants exploration licenses within the EEZ, the territorial sea and the extended continental shelf: But it does not manage the health and safety and environmental effects of those activities (exploration and seismic surveys). It also does not carry out consultation with the wider body politik, not does it determine the general environmental significance of sensitivity of the marine area before it grants permits or opens up 'blocks' for sale. Why?

Because these matters do not fall within the current jurisdiction of MED which has no legal authority or mandate to consider or require environmental impact assessments (EIA) from the permittee - at the time the permit was allocated.

Other agencies include: MOT, Maritime NZ; DOL, DOC, and all their sheafs of laws and rules and regulations - which fall out of the sky on the heads of applicants.

In one sentence : there is a lack of clarity and demarcation in the legislative regime for offshore petroleum operations.

So I reckon if MED has no jurisdiction and the regional council's jurisdiction is also estopped - does that not mean the police and other enforcement agencies will suffer the same fate?

Dogs of war? Dogs at war!

by Chris Webster on April 12, 2011
Chris Webster

Herewith the principal document source

by Steven Price on April 12, 2011
Steven Price

My gut feeling (I haven't done the extensive research that you have...) is that the open seas are a public place, and therefore the disorderly behaviour offence may have some traction. My memory of the cases is that they tend, explicitly or implicitly, to contrast public places with private ones. And it's an even greater stretch of the imagination to conceive of the open seas as private places. (Is there a jurisdictional issue, though? What's the reach of our authorities' authority?)

Of course, police powers would have to be exercised consistently with the Bill of  Rights Act, and rights of protest are relevant there as you note.

I also wonder whether there might be a remedy in tort (unlawful interference with business?), which may support an injunction. Again, not sure of jurisdiction, and again, I'd want the Bill of Rights to be front and centre in any argument.

by on April 12, 2011
Anonymous

"The usual hook on which such matters are hung does not seem to be available here - alleging the protestors are engaged in "disorderly behaviour" under the Summary Offences Act won't work as by no stretch can the open sea some 35 nautical miles off the coast be called a "public place"."

Not sure why you believe the ocean cannot be considered a "public place". Do the public have access to it?

SOA 1981 Interpretation, Public place means a place that, at any material time, is open to or is being used by the public, whether free or on payment of a charge, and whether any owner or occupier of the place is lawfully entitled to exclude or eject any person from that place; and includes any aircraft, hovercraft, ship or ferry or other vessel, train, or vehicle carrying or available to carry passengers for reward

Oxford dictionary - "place" …a particular position, point, or area in space; a location

Whether or not it meets the test of "...behaves, or incites or encourages any person to behave, in a riotous, offensive, threatening, insulting, or disorderly manner that is likely in the circumstances to cause violence against persons or property to start or continue....is another matter.

by Andrew Geddis on April 12, 2011
Andrew Geddis

How about this, Steven [Late ed: And you, too, Kris] ... even if the open sea 35 nautical miles off the coast technically is a "public place" (as being "a place that, at any material time, is open to or is being used by the public"), the nature of that place makes it hard to see how the requisite level of "disorder" could be achieved so as to trigger the intervention of the criminal law (post Brooker). After all, there's no-one except the Orient Explorer to annoy - and they are the direct targets of the protest action. And is it enough for someone to complain "this protest is harming my business activities" to make it "disorderly"? Would a picket that causes customers to decide not to enter a shop thereby be "disorderly"? Would this guy's protest become disorderly if it resulted in a 50% decline in people buying factory-farmed eggs?

As for the jurisdiction point ... the Summary Offences Act has no mention of territorial application (compared with the Crimes Act). But I suspect the Crimes Act, s.7 may kick in - if the flotilla left a NZ port with the intention of protesting in an unlawful way, then that's enough to extablish jurisdiction.

As for the tort point - that would require Petrobras to act, as opposed to the police/Government. Something they actually haven't shown any inclination to do, as of yet!

by Graeme Edgeler on April 12, 2011
Graeme Edgeler

This is not punishable as disorderly behaviour:

1. Section 3 of the Summary Proceedings Acts adopts into the summary offences procedure certain bits of the Crimes Act

2. Expressly excluded from applying to summary offences is section 8 of the Crimes Act, which creates extra-territorial jurisdiction in respect of New Zealand ships and aircraft outside New Zealand.

3. The territorial limits of New Zealand are defined in section 3 of the Territorial Sea, Contiguous Zone, and Exclusive Economic Zone Act 1977. The territorial waters of New Zealand extend 12 miles from the baseline.

4. Section 3 of the Policing Act 2008 sets out the purpose of the Policing Act, and by extension the Police. It is to provide for policing services in New Zealand.

The protests are occuring 35 miles offshore. This is nothing to do with the police, little to do with New Zealand law, and certainly nothing to do with any summary offence.

by Andrew Geddis on April 12, 2011
Andrew Geddis

Yes, well Graeme ... that seems pretty conclusive.

But - what exactly are air force Orions doing buzzing the area (and now reportedly a navy ship being deployed) as per a memorandum of understanding with the Police? And why is John Key asserting that "he last night received an opinion from Crown Law that the police did have jurisdiction to uphold New Zealand law in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) which lies from 12 to 200 nautical miles offshore"?

by Graeme Edgeler on April 12, 2011
Graeme Edgeler

why is John Key asserting that "he last night received an opinion from Crown Law that the police did have jurisdiction to uphold New Zealand law in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) which lies from 12 to 200 nautical miles offshore"?

I assume because he has received one. I would note that the question of whether some aspects of New Zealand Law apply in the EEZ is a different question from whether the Police have powers to enforce them (and even whether the scope of police appropriations would cover them spending money to do it!).

It is clear that there are some powers over the EEZ. We can stop, search and I think seize vessels suspected of fishing illegally, for example. How the New Zealand Government (broad sense) has chosen to exercise its rights (e.g. by granting to Customs or the Navy or whoever the power to exercise them), leaves open the question of whether the police have such authority and in respect of which laws. The extent to which general criminal powers can be exercised in international waters, and the extent to which certain things are offences when occurring in international waters is an entirely distinct question from whether New Zealand has some jurisdiction to pass laws with respect to its EEZ.

what exactly are air force Orions doing buzzing the area (and now reportedly a navy ship being deployed)

It's international airspace, and international waters. Why shouldn't they be there?

by Chris Webster on April 12, 2011
Chris Webster

'To clarify:

Territorial sea' definition:

I used the definition set out in Crown Minerals Act 1991 No 70 as at 06 November 2008 - here

which refers to the Territorial Sea and Exclusive Economic Zone Act 1977:

However when one clicks on 'section 3' - one is taken to the Territorial Sea, Contiguous Zone, and Exclusive Economic Zone Act 1988 No 28 (as at September 2007).

by Andrew Geddis on April 12, 2011
Andrew Geddis

But, Graeme ... when you said "The protests are occuring 35 miles offshore. This is nothing to do with the police ...", I assumed this would mean the Police couldn't request the airforce/navy to assist in their operations because there were no operations the Police were entitled to undertake. So either there's a pretty substantial operation occuring outside of the Police's lawful authority (and, as you point out, costing money the Police aren't entitled to spend), or Crown Law has spotted something you've missed.

by Graeme Edgeler on April 12, 2011
Graeme Edgeler

So either there's a pretty substantial operation occuring outside of the Police's lawful authority (and, as you point out, costing money the Police aren't entitled to spend), or Crown Law has spotted something you've missed.

I suspect the latter. Whether I would agree with the advice is a different matter, and whether they would care still another - I certainly claim no particular expertise in the area.

I am quite confident of the summary offence point; I am pretty confident that the Policing Act doesn't grant police powers over the EEZ; whether they can assert some power from somewhere else is a different matter.

If Crown Law have found both a law covering the EEZ that would be appropriately applied to this situation and a power devolved on the police to enforce that law outside New Zealand, then they may well be right. I'm not absolutely asserting there isn't one, but I'm unaware of it. It may be that Crown Law have made an admirable stab at formulating some interpretative basis for doing this that will ultimately leave it up to the Courts. Who knows? I don't imagine they'll release the advise!

by Stacey on April 12, 2011
Stacey

Thank you for this post – I thought Hekia Parata this morning on Nine to Noon was extraordinary. Out of her depth in the deep sea perhaps?

Although legally a very interesting question, however when we are talking about what the police can and can't do the law may be somewhat relevant to the Police but is definitely not determinative. 

I point you to what Egon Bittner said about the relationship between the police and law. He said police action and police's use of force isn't justified by the law but is justified by the social situation. “Someone ought to do something about that.”

by Todd on April 12, 2011
Todd

I wouldn't say 99% of te Whanau a Apanui, is "at least some" of the local iwi.

Assuming that Crown Law has spotted something nobody else knows about or that John Key has received proper legal advice on the matter seems rather redundant to me. We're dealing with a habitual liar in John Key... just in case there's somebody here that doesn’t know this fact already.

National has clearly stepped over the line here in their fervent support of big business. It seems that such action without any lawful mandate is undertaken because National believe they can control any lawful claim undertaken against them, just as they believe they can instruct the Police (a serious offence in itself) in what to investigate. Such manipulations are wrong, whether you support the protestor’s actions or not.

by Penny Bright on April 12, 2011
Penny Bright

DOES THE BANK OF AMERICA HAVE SHARES IN PETROBAS?

Will John Key personally profit from oil drilling because he has shares in the Bank of America?

John Key has shares in the Bank Of America.
(Register of pecuniary interests for NZ MPs).        Pg 36
http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/MPP/MPs/FinInterests/8/c/3/00CLOOCMPPFinInterests20101-Register-of-Pecuniary-Interests-of-Members.htm


John Key admits on 3 February 2011 at a Grey Power meeting that he has shares in the Bank of America.  (3 minute You tube clip)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXwNoaOpDMw
The Bank of America was one of the banks which helped to manage the $70 billion worth of Petrobas shares sales last year.

http://www.themoneytimes.com/featured/20100926/petrobras-raises-record-70-billion-through-share-sale-id-10129711.html


Petrobras Raises Record $70 Billion Through Share Sale


“Petrobras said banks appointed to manage the share sale also have a greenshoe option to buy another 188 million shares worth about 5 billion reals. Citigroup (NYSE: C), Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS), HSBC, JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank (NYSE: DB), Societe Generale, and a handful of Brazilian and Spanish banks were appointed to manage the share sale.”


Even if the Bank of America have just acted as ‘financiers’ as opposed to being shareholders – they will still presumably be getting paid for their services, and will thus be financially benefiting?


If yes – wouldn’t that mean John Key would arguably personally profit from oil drilling on the East Cape?
Just whose interests is John Key looking after here?


His own?
His corporate mate$?


Arguably NOT a good look for the Prime Minister of NZ – ‘perceived’ to be the ‘least corrupt country in the world’?

Sending in the navy to arguably help protect your investment?

Penny Bright
http://waterpressure.wordpress.com

by Penny Bright on April 12, 2011
Penny Bright

Has Petrobas made a complaint to the NZ Government or the NZ Police about the protests?

If not - who has?

Rather an interesting point - don't you think?

Who has triggered this reaction from John Key?

Upon what is it based?

Or is John Key just sending in the navy to arguably help protect his own personal investment?

Penny Bright

http://waterpressure.wordpress.com

 

by on April 12, 2011
Anonymous

Andrew,

Let me weigh in if only to untangle what I perceive to be strands of argument that potentially conceal, rather than clarify, the issues.

You state that it’s lawful to sail and dive into the high seas, and that no one can tell you to “get off” the high seas.

That’s broadly correct as a matter of international law, but not necessarily correct as a matter of domestic law in circumstances where a state has chosen to exercise (lawfully from the standpoint of domestic law but unlawfully from the stand point of international law) its jurisdiction over the high seas. It’s not unusual (as you’re no doubt well aware) for state officials to be acting legally pursuant to some domestic instrument while breaching an international law.

But that, in any event, is beside the point, for we are not dealing with the high seas here: the spot where all the action is occurring (so I understand) is within NZ’s exclusive economic zone, which is not, technically, the high seas. And this has ramifications on the international level, for whereas states, as a matter of international law, are not able to assert sovereign rights over the high seas, they are entitled to exercise jurisdiction for certain purposes over their exclusive economic zone.

In the light of that, it seems to me that there are two real issues – one a domestic law issue, the other an international law issue:

(a) does NZ have domestic laws which extend to its exclusive economic zone and which would permit the police to intervene in the current situation? And

(b) if so, does the jurisdiction which NZ is entitled to exercise within its EEZ, by virtue of international law, extend to or contemplate the domestic laws pursuant to which the police might intervene?

With regards to the answers to these questions, I leave it for others to contribute. I note only that the answer to (b) has relevance only insofar as a court might read NZ’s domestic laws as being consistent with its international law obligations and entitlements.

by Stacey on April 12, 2011
Stacey

I appreciate Graeme’s ability to weed out the statutory provisions. Please don’t lose sight we are talking about the Police here and the power of arrest – not whether a judge would impose a conviction.

The law (whether an offence has been committed to enable an arrest) although is relevant when looking at the statute, the officer on the ground (or water) probably isn’t going to be too concerned about the strict letter of the law. To arrest someone the standard is not so strict, especially when the police claim they were acting in “good faith.”

Secondly if they police really needed they would find legality to justify their action. The police wouldn’t undertake an arrest they would say they “took them in” or were 'helping them.' Police will say they consented to this action. 

by william blake on April 12, 2011
william blake

as I said yesterday....  piracy on the accountant sea arrrr.

The Greenpeace protesters are brave to a fault, as with the whaling protests, very bad things can happen when you are over the horizon, the law of the sea.

These people need to be applauded for looking out for our coastline.

by Steven Price on April 12, 2011
Steven Price

Stacey: I think we can rely on Greenpeace not to consent here, and probably to video their lack of consent. And given that the police are seeking Crown Law advice about the scope of their powers, I don't think there's much room for seat-of-the-pants policing here.

by Andrew Geddis on April 12, 2011
Andrew Geddis

I'm posting the below, which was sent to me by a student here at Otago.

"Well there's the Convention on the Law of the Sea (which NZ is party to) which establishes what the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is and who controls it. Then Article 56 provides the coastal state with certain rights in using the EEZ. Further Article 58 allows both the coastal and all other states to have freedoms of navigation in relation to "lawful uses of the sea". It is with this background that the NZ state can regulate the use/rights/freedoms within the EEZ.

But does NZ allow the police to monitor/enforce things on the sea? Section 4(3) of the Maritimes Crimes Act 1999 states that person commits a crime where they commit an action that is either "in order to compel any other person to do or abstain from doing any act; and is likely to endanger the safe navigation of the ship." While this does not apply in the situation that has developed it appears that the police do have jurisdiction.

If the police do have jurisdiction, then can the police restrict the protester's ability to protest through getting in the way of the boat? I'm just going to venture some thoughts:

In the Maritime Transport Act 1994, s 65(1) states that every person commits an offence who does any act which "causes unnecessary danger or risk to any other person or to any property." Subsection 2 states that actual injury or damage is not needed. Then subsection 3 states that if a person is found liable they are liable for imprisonment up to 12 months. While there could be issues of whether "any other person" was involved, it seems to me that the Act requires the police to be involved (hence the reference to imprisonment).

The Maritime Rules Part 22 sets out actions that both vessels and others must do to avoid collisions and minimise risks. This seems relevant to actions of the boats involved, but perhaps not the people in the water.

Under Rule 91.12(3) of the Maritime (Offences) Regulations 1998 "No person may place any obstruction in any waters that is likely to restrict navigation ..." Seems this could be used to get the protesters."

It's a sad day when your students prove smarter and better informed than you are ... .

by Stacey on April 12, 2011
Stacey

Steven,

Of course the consent argument wouldn’t wash me. However it amazing what the police put out there in hope that it sticks, and sometimes it does stick – especially when is no broad public outrage at the police conduct. Consent is typically one they try. Police try it because it often works.

In situations where there is no broad public outrage against the police there is a tendency to subject the police to lowest standard of enquiry: give allegations against the Police a once over lightly. Often we are not keen to get out the microscope and examine police’s behaviour strictly.

Take the following, from an area of law that you are probably more familiar than me, as an example:

“I recognise, of course, that the term 'reasonable', as in so many areas of the law, is fluid and its application will depend on the circumstances of a particular case. I recognise also that it is as impossible as it is undesirable to lay down anything like a lexicon of the kinds of facts that will amount to reasonable use of such a picture by the police.

However, where the use in question is decided upon by the honest judgment of professional police officers, that will, of itself, go a long way to establish its reasonableness.”

Hellewell v Chief Constable of Derbyshire [1995] 4 All ER 473, 479 Laws J

by on April 12, 2011
Anonymous

I thought I'd add my two cents.  Andrew, your student is almost right.  In the EEZ, NZ jurisdiction is limited to the matters accorded to it by the Law of the Sea Convention, which relates primarily to resource expoitation and pollution control.  With regards to all other matters, the regime of the high seas applies.  This means that NZ can only exercise jurisdiction over the Greenpeace vessel (a) if it falls into a limited range of categories such as piracy, set out in the LOSC; (b) it is granted jurisdiction under another rule of international law or (c) the Greenpeace vessel is a NZ registered ship - which I understand it is. Therefore in theory NZ criminal law applies to NZ ships under s 8 of the Crimes Act. 

The problem then becomes one of domestic law: is there a domestic criminal offence that the protesters have breached, that applies extra-territorially? Graeme is quite right that the Summary Offences Act excludes the applicability of s 8. Andrew's student said "Section 4(3) of the Maritimes Crimes Act 1999 states that person commits a crime where they commit an action that is either "in order to compel any other person to do or abstain from doing any act; and is likely to endanger the safe navigation of the ship." While this does not apply in the situation that has developed it appears that the police do have jurisdiction"

It is unlikely, in my opinion, that swimming in front of the ship is sufficient to endanger the safe navigation of the Petrobas ship, although there might be some situations in which it could potentially do so (if there were icebergs in the area, eg).  It is not the case that, because this crime has extra-territorial jurisdiction, the police have jurisdiction over all activities.  They must still find some offence under NZ law in order to take action against the protesters.  I think that the Maritime rules and Regulations are the best place to start.

by Chris Webster on April 12, 2011
Chris Webster

Andrew - whilst  I am not a student of yours - more the pity -- here is my quick and dirty look at the law books -

Facts

NZ government entered into an agreement with the Brazilian state-owned (majority shareholder with voting rights) Petrobras - 57.5 percent to be exact.

That makes the permit 52707 an international agreement.

Permit 52707 contains some very specific gps locations - some in and some outside of the 12 nautical mile limit.  For those outside the jurisdiction of the Territorial Sea, Contiguous Zone and Exclusive Economic Zone Act 1977 kicks in:

Section 2 of the Act: defines an international agreement -  means any ilateral or multilateral treaty, convention or agreement to which NZ is a party and any understanding concluuded by the NZ G and the government of another country;

Section 2 defines NZ government ship - means a ship that belongs ... held by any person on behalf of or for the benefit of her majesty - but does not include a ship that is set aside or used by the NZ defence force;

Section 27 general regulations in zone:

a) regulating condut of scientific research (broadly speaking that is what Petrobras is doing)

d) regulating the exploration and exploitation of the zone for the product of ... and for any other economic purposes - snap:

 e) providing for such other matters as are necessary (your word Andrew) or expeditent for giving full effect to sovereign rights in NZ - like bossing people around on neptunes domain;

f) providing that a breach of any such regulations shall be a criminal offence (opens the door for the police) and impose <$10,000 fine any such offences (plural - so does that mean people can do the same offence 10 times but only get fined $10K?

g) providing for such other matters -- contemplated by or necessary for giving full effect -- rah rah ..

section 28: general provisions as to offence in zone:

1) any offence against this Act or against any regulations made under this  Act that is committed within the EEZ shall be deemed to have been committed in NZ.

What say you - Master geddis - tugging forelock ?

by on April 12, 2011
Anonymous

Except that none of this answers Graeme's point, which I understood to be that this event was occurring outside of the territory of NZ.  While the statutes, rules and regs your student has pointed to are "maritime", they will still be expected to apply no father than 12 mi unless they expressly say different.

The relevant extraterritoriality of the Maritime Crimes Act is set out in s 8 - http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1999/0056/latest/DLM28238.html#DLM28238.

I don't know enough about the facts of this case to say whether or not this would allow anything in s 4 to apply here, but it certainly does not confer a blanket extension of the domestic laws.

My very quick review of the Maritime Transport Act suggests that only parts 19 to 28 have extra-territorial effect - to the extent set out in s 224.  This does not seem to extend to parts 4 or 14 and therefore the Rules and Regs.  Nor does it seem to extent to part 6 (containing s 65).   This reading makes sense given the what I understand to be the limited purpose for which NZ can assert any jurisdiction over the EEZ under the Convention.

I disagree with HK, but it may be just semantics so probably shouldn't start the argument.  Anyway, I had always understood international waters, high seas and mare librum to be coextensive.  The EEZ is a portion of the international waters over which we may extend expressly limited jurisdiction.

by Steven Price on April 12, 2011
Steven Price

Sent to Judith Collins, Wayne Mapp, John Key, Crown Law Office:

Dear all,

I am writing under the Official Information Act to request a copy of any advice tendered by the Crown Law Office or anyone else (including officials or consultants) concerning the ambit of powers of any NZ authorities in relation to the protest activities of Greenpeace off the East Cape.

 

This request also applies to any advice to be received in the future in relation to this matter.

 

I’m hoping you’ll simply release this information (or at least some of it) in order to clarify the government’s position on what powers can be exercised here. There is much head-scratching, for example, over at Pundit.co.nz (http://www.pundit.co.nz/content/necessitas-non-habit-legem)

 

I suspect the officials giving the advice would also find it useful to have some other legal minds pitching in, and it would help focus the debate and prevent it heading off down incorrect paths (I suspect that misconceptions are already gathering steam about the legal position).

 

But anticipating objections under the Official Information Act, I note that the government has already publicly referred to the conclusion of the advice, and has therefore waived privilege in it, and in any event, the advice is important to aid public understanding and accountability as events unfold.

 

Steven Price

 

by on April 12, 2011
Anonymous

Howdy Felix,

You never were one to accept passively others' bald assertions, so I shouldn't be surprised that you're objecting to mine re the high seas and its limits.

Do note that I qualified my assertion, in good lawyerly fashion, with the word "technically". I refer you, in this regard, to art 86 of the Convention on the Law of the Sea (and I do acknowledge the effect of art 58).

Regards to you and yours

by on April 12, 2011
Anonymous

I knew that was an unworthy sematic debate, sorry for raising it.  And thanks for drawing attention to those relevant parts of the Convention.

Reading those and the rest of Part V gives, I suggest, a fairly clear picture of the limited extent to which "the rights and jurisdiction of the coastal State" extend into the EEZ.  Well, no, that is overstating it.  It is as clear as mud.  However, it is clearly a world away from s 4(1)(a) of the Summary Offences Act 1981.

If Joanna is right about it being a NZ registered boat then that would give the Government a hook by which they could at least justify sending out an orion or two, and maybe a cruiser.  They need to make sure that nothing in the Crimes Act or the Maritime Crimes Act is committed.

it is still unclear to ome whether any of that would enable them to arrest someone for going for a swim in an inconvenient  place.  Perhaps they could invoke s 41 of the Crimes Act.

by on April 12, 2011
Anonymous

Fascinating analysis.  I wouldn't expect the police to try anything given the uncertainty that is apparent.  I also think that it would be unwise for the navy to intervene given the real propsect of legal action.

This makes life very difficult for the government.  Rushing legislation through under urgency would (in my personal opinion) be quite justified in this circumstance.  On the other hand, it would be politically really risky.  Greenpeace are mad, and it is unwise to pick a fight with a mad man!

by on April 12, 2011
Anonymous

Here's a possible answer to the question "which rule is the jurisdiction based on?".   Maritime rule 22.7(1) requires ships to take action to prevent collisions.  Part 22 is said to apply to all NZ ships anywhere, and foreign ships in NZ waters (see Rule 22.3).  Interestingly, the Maritime (Offences) Regulations don't list rule 22.7 as a summary offence under that Act. 

Just to be confusing, s 451 of the Maritime Transport Act provides: "Any rule made under this Act may apply generally throughout New Zealand, New Zealand waters, or New Zealand continental waters (as defined in section 222(1)) or within any specified part or parts of New Zealand, New Zealand waters, or New Zealand continental waters."

Section 222 defines NZ continental waters as:

New Zealand continental waters means—

  • (a) New Zealand marine waters; and

  • (b) the waters beyond the outer limits of the exclusive economic zone of New Zealand but over the continental shelf of New Zealand

New Zealand marine waters means—

  • (a) the territorial sea of New Zealand; and

  • (b) the waters of the exclusive economic zone of New Zealand

So, Maritime Rules can apply in the EEZ?  Great drafting I have to say.  I only wish drafters would be clearer about the applicability of important Acts like this.  I might be missing something still, because Rule 22.3 appears to assert applicability to NZ ships anywhere.  It is of course implementing the COLREGs (Collision Regulations under the IMO) so that might be the explanation for that.  For completion, Rule 22.3 only applies to foreign vessels in the territorial sea, which is consistent with the Law of the Sea Convention.

by Graeme Edgeler on April 12, 2011
Graeme Edgeler

I was thinking when I made my first comment that someone should ask Joanna!

I note however, that the problem doesn't appear to be the a New Zealand Boat causing (or failing to take actions to avoid) a collision, but New Zealand swimmers. As a foreign-flagged vessel, it would appear these rules wouldn't appear to the survey ship anyway.

Perhaps someone can suggest an offence that the greenpeace swimmers might be committing in breach of maritime rules. I don't immediately see one.

I also still don't see a power for the police to be involved. A quick perusal of the Maritime Transport Act suggests it would be Maritime New Zealand who would have the responsibility.

by Andrew R on April 12, 2011
Andrew R

There are collision regulations that could apply. A ship conducting a survey may be a vessel restricted in its ability to manouvre (this could include an aircraft carrier zooming across the ocean at 30 knots while planes are landing and taking off). Other vessels -- under power or sail -- have to keep clear of a vessel restricted in its ability to manouvre. (Okay there are cases where this is not true, for example vessels not under command, but as a general propostion it is true). Where it gets interesting is where say a vessel anchors some distance in front of a vessel restricted in its ability to manouvre as the anchored vessel doesn't have to move. Or when two vessels both restricted in their ability to manouvre are in a crossing situation -- what happens then?

by Andrew Geddis on April 12, 2011
Andrew Geddis

I've been trying to get my head around the Maritime Rules, too, as this seems to be the hook the Police are hanging their hats on.

Yes, Rule 22 sets out obligations to avoid collisions that "New Zealand ships" must comply with (see Rules 22.3 & 22.7). The definition part then states that "“New Zealand ship” means a ship that is registered under the Ship Registration Act 1992; and includes a ship that is not registered under that Act but is required or entitled to be registered under that Act". And basically every New Zealand owned ship is "entitled" to be so registered ... giving the rules application anywhere in the world (indeed, this seems to be their express purpose).

However, if any of the Greenpeace flotilla are NOT New Zealand owned, then Rule 22 won't apply to them as its geographic reach is only to the edge of the territorial sea "as defined by section 3 of the Territorial Sea and Exclusive Economic Zone Act 1977" ... being 12 nautical miles out.

None of which answers Joanna's point that a breach of Rule 22.7 doesn't actually seem to be punishable (only Rule 22.39 is listed as an offence provision here). The police apparently are mentioning the prospect of a years jail/$10,000 fine for breaching the cordon they've set around the Orient Explorer, which I assume relates to this offence in the primary legislation. But (1) can Greenpeace really be said to be "operat[ing] ... or do[ing] any other act in respect of any ship or maritime product in a manner which causes unnecessary danger or risk to any other person or to any property, irrespective of whether or not in fact any injury or damage occurs"?; and (2) does this offence provision apply in the EEZ? After all, it isn't said to apply to NZ Ships (like Rule 22 is), nor does the Maritime Transport Act define its geographic reach. So, why say it stretches all the way to the edge of the EEZ, rather than just to the limit of our territorial waters?

Boy ... I'm glad I'm not sitting in Crown Law and having to explain to Ministers just why it is that I don't have a clear answer as to why the Navy can't just blast these troublemakers out of the water ...!

by Todd on April 13, 2011
Todd

National Imperialists Courting Disaster

http://thejackalman.blogspot.com/2011/04/national-imperialists-courting-...

Greenpeace and local East Coast iwi had a victory on Sunday. They peacefully halted oil exploration off the East Coast of New Zealand. This was achieved by going for a little swim in the ocean that just happened to be in front of Petrobras' seismic testing ship, which consequently had to alter course. Awesome! I'm going to have to buy them some beer.

by stuart munro on April 13, 2011
stuart munro

I'm fairly sure a person swimming is not a vessel under the collision regs. Yes, a seismic vessel is traditionally a VRMA, and specialised regulations apply to them in some areas - they used to tow miles of cable. Whether they remain RMA with more manouverable modern seismic receiving gear might be testable.

The small craft attending the swimmers are probably the legal target, powered vessels having an obligation not to hinder other vessels or hazard their navigation. There are specific mentions, for instance, of small fishing craft not blocking channels. There is also the expectation of "the exercise of good seamanship to prevent collisions." I imagine the MSA can invalidate the navigational qualifications of persons not exercising such good seamanship.

I doubt it will come to that though. Seismic work can be done in darkness or weather small craft might find too rough.

by toad on April 13, 2011
toad

It appears that the notices served by the Police have been under section 55 of the Maritime Transport Act.  The restrict the permitted distance between the protest vessels and the surveying vessels.  They don't appear to relate to the swimmers at all.  I can't see how that inhibits the disruption of the survey at all, because presumably the swimming protesters will have the capacity to swim a hundred metres or so from outside the restricted zone into the path of the survey ship.

Powers under section 55 of the Maritime Transport Act lie with the Director of Marritime New Zealand.  Those powers can be delegated to Police under section 444 of the Maritime Transport Act, however there has to be a specific delegation of a particular power, and there has to be writen Ministerial approval of the specified delegation.

It will be interesting to see if they have all their i's dotted and t's crossed.

by Stacey on April 13, 2011
Stacey

“Boy ... I'm glad I'm not sitting in Crown Law and having to explain to Ministers just why it is that I don't have a clear answer as to why the Navy can't just blast these troublemakers out of the water ...!”

I don’t know much about maritime law, and not too sure if I am all that keen to know much about it. The legislation seems a mess.

It would be interesting to see the Crown Law opinion, or know the substance of it – the conclusion is out there, as reported in the media, put out there by ministers, that New Zealand (or the Police) do have jurisdiction, but how and for what is the question. It will be interesting to see if Steven is able to get it – or a summary, some more information about its content – under the OIA. Legal advice typically is quite hard to get, even though the Ombudsman has pointed out in cases privilege is waived or reduced in the information by release of its conclusion or by a report from the government about what it says. But sometimes that can cut both ways. It can be said as the information is already ‘substantially in the public domain’ what is not in the public domain remains protected by the vestiges of the privilege that still exist and on the whole the public interest has been satisfied. I find this somewhat unsatisfactory, especially if you’re someone who likes detail and if you take the presumption in favour of disclosure seriously (when issues are on the cusp err in favour of disclosure). And perhaps, and this is the killer, the main obstacle, regardless of the law, the government may not be all too keen on putting it out – aid the protestors, identify what is permissible within the law (swimming). Or Ministers have misrepresented what it says – it rather more nuanced.

And who knows, in regards to the opinion, given the swiftness it was provided, and the problems that people on this blogs have identified with the law, the opinion may not be all that helpful. It may be some cursory thing that lists Acts etc.

May section 41 of the Crimes Act 1961 cover swimming in front of a ship, perhaps on a desperate reading to enable an arrest?

by Flat Eric on April 13, 2011
Flat Eric

What if you turn this on its head?  If you are all correct in saying the police have no powers, would that also hold if the survey ship was unable to stop or avoid either a protest boat or a swimmer?

by on April 14, 2011
Anonymous

Some excellent points raised.  Yes, I've heard reports that some of the Greenpeace vessels aren't registered in NZ, which severely limits the Police's jurisdiction out at sea.  In relation to whether a collision applies to a swimmer, collision is not defined in the rules.  I'd be willing to run an argument that a vessel has an equal obligation to avoid a person in the water as they do a vessel.  But it's probably right that the Police are more likely to be basing their case on another part of the Maritime Rules or MTA. 

As far as the Police rather than MNZ exercising the powers, I'm not an expert, but I would have thought that the Police can be involved in any activity that involves an offence against the law?

BTW, international law is silent about the right to "swim" in the high seas (at least as far as I know)!

I agree that it would be very interesting to see the Crown Law advice, but I won't be holding my breath...

by Chris Webster on April 14, 2011
Chris Webster

In addition there are the international collision regulations confirmed by International Maritime Organisation (IMO) resolution MSC.303(87).

http://www.maritimenz.govt.nz

This resolution requires safety during demonstrations, protests or confrontation on the 'high seas'.

And that a higher standard of care must be taken by all who are involved in these activities.

All masters must comply wit the ICR and practice good seamanship - regardless of the politics - surrouding their activities.

But there is nothing in the IMO or the Rules or the other bits that relate to 'swimming', 'swimmers' or people 'treading water' on/in the 'high seas'.

The 'high seas' are described as 'common heritage of mankind' under UNCLOS which means that NZ has only a general obligation under the 'law of the sea' to protect and preserve the marine environment.'

Begs the question:

If it ('swimming' / 'treading water' / 'human buoying') is / was indeed on / in the 'high seas' where is the jurisdiction for the new zealand police?

The notices (issued under s55 MTA) did not instruct 'human buoying' to cease or to stand off port and starboard, bow and stern of either Petrobras' vessels - those conditions apply  only to the vessels owned/engaged by Greenpeace and te Whanau-a-Apanu.

 

 

 

by Andrew Geddis on April 15, 2011
Andrew Geddis

The legal basis for what is going on seems (sort of) clear thanks to Toad's comment above ... but here's a question.

Maritime NZ obviously decided there was a "safety" issue caused by the protest. They then chose to address that issue by instructing the protesters not to approach within a "buffer" zone. But why were the protesters told to do this? Why not order the Orient Explorer not to approach within 200m of a protest vessel? That also would have addressed the safety issues.

The response, no doubt, would be that the Orient Explorer has a right to carry out its business of surveying. But as I've noted, this "right" actually is a privilege - one that doesn't impose any duties on anyone else. And the protesters also have a right (privilege) to be in the ocean at that point - in that there is no law to preclude them being there. Therefore, there's no reason in law why the Orient Exporer "had" to be allowed to continue surveying, or that the protestors "had" to be the target of the exclusion zone in order to ensure "safety".

Consequently, Maritime NZ has made a choice here - not a decision required by law, but rather a choice to use powers conferred by law in a way that benefits the interests of the Orient Explorer/Petrobras over and above those of the protesters. Now, that choice may or may not be justified (depending on your political inclinations), but any claim that this action "had to be" taken needs to be seen for what it is ... an attempt to disguise the decision that oil exploration should matter more than protest action.

Oh - another interesting question ... what NZBORA consideration took place before Maritime NZ issued the notices? Anyone fancy another OIA request?

by Graeme Edgeler on April 18, 2011
Graeme Edgeler

Oh - another interesting question ... what NZBORA consideration took place before Maritime NZ issued the notices? Anyone fancy another OIA request?

Chicken or egg?

Does the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act guarantee rights outside New Zealand? It doesn't claim to be extra-territorial.

Although police/Maritime NZ actions will be covered, can it be said that actions limiting "rights" actually limit rights if those rights are only guaranteed by the NZBORA within New Zealand?

by Graeme Edgeler on April 18, 2011
Graeme Edgeler

I note in particular that the long title to the NZBORA states that it's an Act "To affirm, protect, and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms in New Zealand..."

by Andrew Geddis on April 18, 2011
Andrew Geddis

"Although police/Maritime NZ actions will be covered, can it be said that actions limiting "rights" actually limit rights if those rights are only guaranteed by the NZBORA within New Zealand?"

Put it this way - if the Police have legal authority to act in the protest zone (as being "in NZ"), then the NZBORA must apply (as being "in NZ") ... no? So it's like love and marriage ... you can't have one without the other. Plus, as you say, the decision to issue the buffer zone notices clearly was taken in NZ.

As for the broader question of whether rights instruments have extra-territorial application, this might be of interest.

by Graeme Edgeler on April 18, 2011
Graeme Edgeler

Plus, as you say, the decision to issue the buffer zone notices clearly was taken in NZ.

Yes ... but if their actions don't limit rights, then their actions won't breach the NZBORA.

Which isn't to say I agree with the argument, but it's a nice thought experiment: there is no particular reason that just because one law possibly applicable to a given situation has extra-territorial effect that another law also with possible application will also have extra-territorial effect.

by Andrew Geddis on April 19, 2011
Andrew Geddis

"Yes ... but if their actions don't limit rights, then their actions won't breach the NZBORA."

But the existence of rights isn't dependent on the NZBORA's territorial application ... remember that it simply affirms already existing rights. So what the NZBORA does is create a statutory duty on the part of public actors to respect those rights ... at least whilst in NZ. So, you've a public authority (Maritime NZ/Police) that is making a decision in NZ (to impose a buffer zone) that impacts on protest rights (which exist whether a person is in NZ or not).

In a nutshell, the question of territorial application applies to the duty to respect rights, not to the existence of the rights in the first place.

by on April 19, 2011
Anonymous

"But the existence of rights isn't dependent on the NZBORA's territorial application ... remember that it simply affirms already existing rights."

But what "existing rights" are you talking about? Those that the common law as applied in New Zealand recognises (thus necessarily limiting their territorial application)? Or are you making the argument that rights are somehow pre-political, and exist independently of the law?

Unless you're making the "rights as pre-political" argument, I can't agree that, as you put it, protest rights "exist whether a person is in NZ or not". Surely it depends on where the person is and to what jurisdiction the person is subject.

Further, while I can't recall the terms of the NZBORA, insofar as it was enacted to give effect to NZ's obligations under the ICCPR, then, in line with the international jurisprudence, NZ government officials would be bound by their obligations to respect rights wherever they go. In view of that, I am uncomfortable with the statement that "the question of territorial application applies to the duty to respect rights."

by Andrew Geddis on April 20, 2011
Andrew Geddis

hk,

The rights "affirmed" in the NZBORA come from the ICCPR, which NZ has ratified. But why the ICCPR recognises these rights, and where they come from to be so recognised, is a philosophical question I'm not qualified to answer. It's just that, as a matter of NZ law, the individual rights are treated as existing prior to and independently of the NZBORA ... it's just that that legislation creates a legal (as opposed to a moral) duty to respect those rights.

NZ officials may be required by the ICCPR to recognise rights anywhere in the world, but that's not the same as a domestic legal duty imposed by legislation. Which is what I was talking about. So, to bring it down to brass tacks ... if Maritime NZ/the Police ignored the NZBORA in setting the "buffer zone", you could get a court to do something about it. I'm not sure the same would apply if they had acted in breach of the ICCPR.

by on April 20, 2011
Anonymous

Well rights and duties are so closely connected (in the sense that rights are effectively given content by the duties they engender and the specification of duty-bearers) that I'm not sure it makes too much sense to speak of the existence of a "right" in the absence of corresponding duties that can be identified. With that in mind, it strikes me as odd (as a matter of logic) that the NZBORA can recognize the rights in the ICCPR without recognizing, at the same time, the duties that states parties to the Covenant have taken on.

In any event, I agree that:

"NZ officials may be required by the ICCPR to recognise rights anywhere in the world, but that's not the same as a domestic legal duty imposed by legislation"

but my point was that in order to ascertain the extent of the domestic legal duties (imposed by the NZBORA), NZ's international obligations (under the ICCPR) might inform that inquiry.

by Chris Webster on April 25, 2011
Chris Webster

it gets interesting is where say a vessel anchors some distance in front of a vessel restricted in its ability to manouvre as the anchored vessel doesn't have to move. Or when two vessels both restricted in their ability to manouvre are in a crossing situation -- what happens then?

==

Ah ... that is exactly what did happen on Saturday ... this last  weekend ...

But last week John Key mentioned in a press briefing - Crown law has relied on the Continental Shelf Act 1964; which contains 8 sections with section 8 providing jurisdiction for police to act intervene buzz around on the 'high seas'.

Secondly last week the requirement notices issued to all skippers to stand off x distances from the (bow, stern, port and starboard) of Petrobras' two  vessels were withdrawn by Maritime NZ.

On Saturday the whanau-apanui vessel San Pietro which was stationary - had radioed the Petrobras vessel of its position and under IMO Collision regs - Petrobras - as the 'moving' vessel was required to uphold requirements of IMO collision regs and Maritime NZ Part 22 regs and act.

Petrobras instead squealed and radioed the NZ navy vessels and the navy used its hard-ribbed inflatibles to carry the nz police which boarded the San Pietro and arrested its skipper Elvis Teddy.

Guess he was singing 'ain't nothing but a hound-dog' as he was sailing away.

 

 

 

 

 

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