Scuttling of Blue Beard a costly exercise

Publish Date : 05 Sep 2022
Blue Beard 2
Blue Beard sinking in marine reserve

Two men found guilty of deliberately scuttling the vessel Blue Beard in the coastal marine area off Whakanewha Regional Park on Waiheke Island in 2019, have been fined $40,000 in the Auckland District Court.

In sentencing, Chief Environment Court Judge David Kirkpatrick rejected the two men’s claim it was a “failed attempt at a complex salvage and a well-meaning misadventure rather than a deliberate act.”

He fined John Peter Lenssen and Cain Subritzky $20,000 each.

Judge Kirkpatrick said, “the offending was calculated and deliberate and financially motivated.”

He went onto say the defendants did not co-operate with the council and the Harbourmaster during the investigation, and actively misled officers telling them the Blue Beard was buried on private property despite knowing it was disposed of in a coastal marine area. 

“This decision sends a very strong message, which we welcome, to anyone even thinking about dumping in any of our marine reserves in the Hauraki Gulf,” says Auckland Council’s Team Leader Investigations David Pawson.

“Instead of preserving the marine environment, they’ve chosen to wilfully sink a boat in a known protected area where adverse effects could have resulted.  We will have no hesitation in prosecuting those who show disdain and disregard for our marine environment,” Pawson adds.

Judge Kirkpatrick also granted the council’s request for an enforcement order against each defendant, requiring them to remove the wreck and any items associated with it from the seabed and to dispose of it lawfully in a suitable facility or location on land within three months of the date of the sentence.

He also declined Mr Subritzky’s request for a discharge without conviction.

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