Based in Port Chalmers Aurora 7459 descended approximately one nautical mile off the Tautuku Peninsula and two people and a dog were winched into an Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter from a life raft.
Dunedin Marine Search and Rescue chairman Martin Balch said the crew were lucky to get away unscathed.
“In general, any ship that sinks at sea is inherently always dangerous.
“They were lucky. They had good radio communications so we knew where they were.”
Maritime New Zealand has launched an investigation into the sinking.
The ship made headlines in January this year after the crew was accused of throwing fish waste overboard near a popular Caroline Bay swimming spot, Timaru, and is being investigated by the Canterbury Regional Environment Council.
Yesterday the council’s southern area manager Peter Burt said his investigation revealed that a small amount of fish waste had been discharged from the vessel.
“This was not acceptable practice, although most of the litter was quickly consumed by seabirds. We took an educational approach with the captain involved, who recognized that his actions were not best practice and agreed to be more responsible in the future.”
The skipper and owner of Aurora 7459 is Wayne “Jingles” Jolly.
Attempts to contact him failed.
Many interviewees in the Port Chalmers fishing community described Mr Jolly as ‘a colorful character’ and ‘a lovable thug’, and said Aurora 7459 seemed poorly maintained.
“The last time the boat was in Port Chalmers a fortnight ago it looked pretty sad,” said a fisherman who requested anonymity.
Another fisherman, who declined to be named, thought the boat had an up-to-date certificate of seaworthiness but agreed it was not well maintained.
“I guess that’s why it sank. There was no maintenance on this boat. It’s in a sorry state.”