As Fullers was today hit with a hefty fine after a ferry collision that injured several passengers, the company may have had a sense of deja vu.
New Zealand's largest public ferry operator has been fined and ordered to pay $155,000 in reparation. It also sought and was ordered by the court to launch a costly industry safety project after its ferry Kea collided with Devonport's Victoria Wharf in 2017.
It was not the first time Kea has been involved in an accident or landed Fullers in court: the ferry has had a long and troubled past that includes at least seven other collisions.
Fullers CEO Mike Horne has defended the 105 tonne catamaran, which is now being retired.
"Kea has been serving the Devonport community for 31 years, moving to and from the city through an increasingly crowded water space," he said.
"While we firmly believe that even one incident is one too many, Kea has had only a small number of unrelated incidents across hundreds of thousands of runs."
The Herald is aware of at least seven collisions and numerous mechanical issues in the past 20 years - some of which are eerily similar to the 2017 crash and have also resulted in passengers and crew being injured.
The Kea has operated for more than 30 years, making thousands of voyages across the Waitematā Harbour, and makes about 10,000 berthings with about 1.8 million passengers a year.
In the 2017 accident, revealed by the Herald, a woman was thrown from the top of a stairwell as the Kea crashed into the Devonport wharf.
She hit her head on the deck and was diagnosed with head trauma, brain bleeding and a fractured rib. She has been unable to return to work. Others were also injured in the crash.
Maritime NZ prosecuted Fullers over the crash and the company pleaded guilty to one charge under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
The order requires Fullers to lead work for its own crews and also for other maritime operators to improve safety. It is expected the project will cost Fullers $300,750.
It was also the second time the Kea's woes have led to Fullers being taken to court.
In February 2015, the ferry, with 61 passengers on board, sailed from downtown Auckland to Devonport on what was supposed to be a routine 10.30am voyage.
However, the vessel master lost control of the Kea as it approached Victoria Wharf at about 7 knots. It collided with the pier. No warning was given for the passengers to brace and several were injured.
The bench seating on the Kea's main deck was unsecured and toppled over, exacerbating the impact.
As a result of the crash, Fullers was ordered to pay victims $92,500 and was fined $40,000 by the Auckland District Court in May 2017.
The case also revealed several issues with the Kea.
In late 2014, Fullers upgraded the boat's control system to a digital version, known as the follow-up mode.
However, between October 2014 and the 2015 crash there were at least nine recorded faults with the system, preventing an alignment with all the control stations on the ferry, court documents read.
On at least 15 days between October 29, 2014 and the 2015 crash, the Kea was also out of service or at a reduced service because of the broken system.
In November 2014, Fullers consulted Maritime NZ about the issues on the ferry and it was decided the vessel would be operated without the follow-up mode.
After the meeting, one of Kea's masters requested they sail the vessel from the central wheelhouse, because it provided access to the ferry's radar, GPS and engine gauges - which the wing stations did not.
A "large visual blind spot" caused by the Kea's funnel caused navigating issues from the wing stations, the master said. Those operating the Kea were then permitted to move between and manually operate the vessel from the central and wing stations provided there was enough open sea.
Additional watch crew were also assigned and only experienced masters were allowed to operate the troubled ferry.
In 2015, Maritime NZ twice warned Fullers about concerns with its equipment, court documents show.
In October 2011, the Kea clipped the Harbour Cat ferry while it was berthed at the downtown ferry terminal. One person was treated for minor injuries from the accident.
Passengers described an "almighty bang" when the ferry crashed, which punched a hole in both boats.
The Kea had broken down earlier in the day, but had been cleared to go back into service.
In May 2009, in an eerily similar crash to the 2017 accident, the Kea hit the Devonport Wharf, causing a passenger to fall down the stairs and be knocked unconscious.
Like the 2017 crash, the 2009 accident involved a trainee master operating the ferry. The cause was determined to be an incorrect approach.
Court documents also describe how passengers would move to the exits as the Kea nears the final moments of its voyage. Despite warning signs to remain seated during berthing and departures it was common for passengers on the Kea to stand up start lining up to disembark.
Fullers was aware of this, court documents read.
At the time of the 2017 accident, however, no safety announcements or verbal directions were given by the crew to advise passengers to remain seated during berthing.
Audio announcements had previously been implemented on the Kea but were discontinued because of complaints from passengers. After the 2017 crash the audio warnings were reintroduced as the vessel reaches the end of a voyage.
In 2007, the Kea's passengers were again involved in a rough trip and were hurled to the deck after it developed a steering fault and crashed into the Auckland docks.
Some children who had been sitting at the front of the ferry fell over, and other passengers were treated at the scene for minor injuries.
Fullers blamed a faulty steering system. The Kea was not damagedand was soon back in service after an investigation by Maritime NZ.
While carrying 38 passengers from Devonport during an early morning run in March 2006 the Kea ran into trouble.
This time it collided with another ferry.
The crash caused a metre-long hole above the water line in the hull of the Starflyte.
No one was injured. Nobody was on the Starflyte ferry, which was moored at the main Auckland terminal having an annual maintenance survey.
A fault in a battery charger providing steering power to the Kea was blamed.
At the time the Kea had only just returned to service from a fortnight out of action because of damage to its drive shaft when a foreign object was sucked into a propeller.
In May 2004, the ferry was sailing from Devonport with 47 passengers and crew when the skipper was alerted to someone overboard.
The passenger had apparently jumped after saying "I'm not feeling well", a Maritime NZ report reads.
The person was 300-400m away from the Kea and thrown a lifebuoy before being brought back onboard. Once ashore he was handed over to the police.
And in 2001, dozens of people were onboard when the Kea's master lost control while approaching Queen's Wharf.
It hit another Fullers ferry, which then shunted it into a third vessel.
Witnesses described the Kea veering to the side before it thumped into the Manu ferry, which bumped into the Kestrel, a then 94-year-old vessel in the Fullers fleet.
No one was hurt, but the Manu suffered damage to its beam. The crash occurred after a generator failed on the Kea, Fullers said.
The cause of the 2017 crash was somewhat of a mystery, but ferry masters consider the Devonport wharf to be more difficult to berth because it is exposed to tidal influences.
A sudden gust of wind would be enough to push the Kea off course, court documents read.
An report by Fullers for the 2017 crash said the accident was a result of systems and tidal influences.
The report found insufficient training on berthing Kea was a risk not only to the business but to those onboard the vessel. After the 2015 crash the Kea masters were retrained and Fullers also increased its budget for skills and training.
It came after internal memos to staff during late November 2014, by Fuller's health and safety manager, said the faults of the Kea were still "resulting in a number of potentially serious control failure incidents".
Horne said safety was the company's "top priority, and a core value across our operation".
He earlier told the Herald Fullers planned to invest $1.2 million in vessel training and $350,000 in crew training in the past year alone, after committing in 2018 to investing more heavily in training and to "raise the bar in operational safety".
The Kea: A cursed catamaran?
• 2001: The ferry veered and crashed into another Fullers ferry, which was tied to the dock, and bumped into a third ferry.
• While sailing from Devonport a passenger jumped overboard.
• 2006: The Kea gouged a metre-long hole in the hull of another Fullers ferry. There were no injuries.
• 2007: The Kea's passengers were thrown to the deck after the vessel developed a steering fault and crashed into a pier. Some passengers were treated for minor injuries.
• 2009: Crashed into the Devonport wharf, injuring a passenger who fell down the stairs and was knocked unconscious.
• 2011: The Kea collided with another berthed ferry. One person was treated for minor injuries.
• 2015: Major crash into Devonport wharf, injuring several passengers and crew. Maritime NZ prosecutes Fullers and the company is later ordered to pay nearly $100,000 to the victims and fined $40,000.
• 2017: Crashes into Devonport wharf again, a woman falls down the stairs and suffers head injuries. Maritime NZ again prosecutes Fullers.
• 2019: Fullers pleads guilty to failing to comply with a duty that exposed an individual to risk of death or serious injury and later announces it is in the process of decommissioning the Kea.
• 2020: Fullers is sentenced in the Auckland District Court and is fined and ordered to pay $155,000 in reparations. It is also issued with a work health and safety project order.