A deckhand killed falling from a log ship at the Port of Tauranga this year was not wearing a safety harness, an investigation into the man's death has concluded.

The deck cadet, a Chinese national aboard the bulk carrier Mount Hikurangi, fell to his death on February 27.

A report into the death by New Zealand's Transport Accident Investigation Commission found that the crew of the Mount Hikurangi routinely failed to follow company procedures by working on top of logs without the required safety harnesses.

The commission said the logs had just been loaded and the crew were applying chain lashings to logs above deck when the cadet fell 10m from the stack onto the wharf and then into the harbour.

Advertisement

''The deck cadet did not survive this fall. His body was recovered by divers a number of hours later.

''The cadet was not wearing a safety harness attached to a fall arrestor while working close to the edge of the log stack, despite a company requirement to do so. The commission found that the crew on Mount Hikurangi routinely did not follow company procedures by working on top of log cargoes without the required safety harnesses.

''There was little evidence of a strong safety culture on board Mount Hikurangi at the time,'' the report said.

Safety actions taken by the ship's operator and Maritime New Zealand negated the need for the commission to make any recommendations.

All crew members must now wear safety harnesses, preferably connected to fall arrestors, when working at height. A strong safety culture must be established and promoted from the highest levels of management on a ship.

''It must be encouraged, monitored and enforced throughout all levels of the organisation so that best safety practices are followed,'' the report concluded.

The man fell about 9.15am. Navy divers found his body three hours later - a navy ship happened to be in port at the time.