A ship owner has found a novel way of officially shortening his vessel to save costs - by drilling holes in its bow

A ship owner has found a novel way of officially shortening his vessel to save costs – by drilling holes in its bow. New Zealand authorities have accepted his argument that this has turned the bow into a false bow, with a 4m free flooding area between it and a new watertight bow fitted internally.

The solution reduces the official length of the Anatoki to less than 45m, reducing berthing fees and crossing a threshhold which allows fewer and less qualified crew members to be carried. It also means that the vessel no longer has to adopt mandatory international shore and ship safety and pollution prevention systems.

Maritime New Zealand’s decision to approve the modifications has been strongly criticised. “This is extreme bending of the rules and I cannot see how they can get away with it”, said one surveyor, while another added, “the holes drilled in the original bow should be named `loopholes’.”