Transpower is reminding all those heading out on the water this summer of restrictions in the Cook Strait Cable Protection Zone (CPZ).
The CPZ protects vital submarine electricity and telecommunication cable links between the North and South Islands. The cables form part of the HVDC inter-island link which transfers power between the North and the South Island.
Transpower’s HVDC & Power Electronics Manager Ricky Smith said fishing and anchoring are illegal within the CPZ, with penalties of up to $250,000 as well as forfeiture of the vessel involved.
“This infrastructure is critical to New Zealand and hooking or striking a cable with fishing gear or an anchor can cause serious damage or cable failure.”
Cable damage can cost tens of millions of dollars and take many months to repair, and significantly impact power and communications for the country.
The CPZ is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week by the patrol vessel Seapatroller, an on-call helicopter and protection officers, with support from Maritime Police as required.
CPZ Patrol Manager Ken Bedford said a key part of the job was to educate those on the water, and make sure they knew the rules.
“This is a busy time of year due to warmer weather and people on holiday. If you’re fishing or boating, we want you to have a great day.”
“We might stop by, drop off a Transpower information pack showing where the CPZ boundaries are,” he said.
The Seapatroller is also equipped to respond to vessels in crisis, including the recent addition of a defibrillator.
“We’re here to help and assist,” Mr Bedford said.
He recommended people familiarise themselves with the CPZ restrictions if they were going to be in or near the area, and ensure they had adequate tools for navigation.
“If in any doubt call the patrol vessel Seapatroller by VHF radio or on 027 4442 288,” Mr Bedford said.
The cables are protected under the Submarine Cables and Pipelines Protection Act 1996.
Transpower has more information here.
For further information or if you want to interview CPZ Patrol Manager Ken Bedford, please contact:
Patrick O’Meara, Senior Corporate Communications Advisor, 04 590 8626 or 021 517 029.