The 19 radio operators of Taupo Maritime Radio ZLM responded to about 800 incidents in New Zealand and international waters.
On 31 March, Taupo Radio responded to a distress call from the racing yacht Mad Max southeast of Papua New Guinea. The two sailors were then rescued by a Japanese ship.
Maintenance services for the Maritime New Zealand Maritime Distress and Safety Radio Network were contracted to Downer Engineering Limited effective 1 July 2003 to 30 June 2008.1
In its annual report for 2003-2004, the Maritime Safety Authority stated:
“From 1 July 2004, MSA has, in conjunction with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), operated the new Rescue Coordination Centre of New Zealand (RCCNZ), responsible for all Class III maritime and aviation search and rescues.” 2
Broadcast Communications Limited (later renamed Kordia) was contracted to provide HF and VHF distress and safety radio communications for shipping, effective 1 July 2004 – 30 June 2010.3
In July, the Maritime Safety Authority changed its name to Maritime New Zealand.
“The upgraded radio network on the Chatham Islands is now operational. This project was identified as a key work priority in the 2005 Independent Review of MNZ. Completion of this project means that mariners in the Chatham Islands will now have direct access (via Channel 16) to the Maritime Operation Centre located in Avalon, Lower Hutt. It will also enhance the co-ordination of rescue efforts in the Chatham Island’s region.” 4
Maintenance services for the MNZ Maritime Distress and Safety Radio Network were contracted to Kordia Limited (replacing Downer Engineering Limited), effective 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2010.5
Maritime New Zealand, in its annual report for 2008-2009, said it had drastically reduced the cost of providing distress radio services:
“The distress radio service is essential for ensuring the safety of vessels around New Zealand. The cost of providing a major component of this service has reduced over the past 15 years. The graph below shows recent costs of providing the Maritime Operations Centre (MOC) and a large portion of the Maritime Radio Service. To put the savings in context, the cost of providing coverage to a small part of New Zealand with five radio sites in 1990 was $4.2m. This compares with a cost of $2.4m in 2009 from 30 sites providing coverage around the entire New Zealand coastline and the region known as NAVAREA XIV (an area that equates to some 50 million square kilometres of ocean, which makes up 12.5% of the earth’s total water surface).” 6
And from the same annual report:
“The increased radio coverage provided by the 30 MOC radio sites has seen the number of distress radio calls received by MOC increase from an annual average of 50 calls in the 1990s to 178 calls in 2008/09. An increased awareness of those in distress enables MNZ to mount search and rescue missions and save lives. MOC also provides other safety services, such as safety bulletins and marine weather updates to vessel operators, and also provides radio logs to New Zealand Customs to forewarn them of recreational boating movements and intended destinations.” 7
1. Maritime NZ Annual Report: 2005-2006, p 76
2. Maritime Safety Authority Annual Report: 2003-2004, p 3
3. Maritime NZ Annual Report: 2005-2006, p 76
4. Maritime NZ Annual Report: 2006-2007, p 28
5. Maritime NZ Annual Report: 2008-2009, p 117
6. ibid, p 33
7. ibid, p 34