Maritime Union New Zealand is calling for the country's coastal shipping industry to be re-regulated, saying the ill-fated livestock carrier departed port in Napier not in the best condition, bound for a typhoon.
It comes after a cattle ship capsized and sank off the coast of Japan while enroute from Napier to China over a week ago.
Thousands of live cattle on board the Gulf Livestock 1 were lost and 40 of it's 43 crew members, including New Zealanders Scott Harris and Lochie Bellerby, are missing and feared dead.
The Union's National Secretary, Joe Fleetwood, told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning the ship wasn't sea-worthy, citing engine problems and a two degree list.
However, he said it raises concerns of a wider issue and highlights why coastal shipping needed to be re-regulated.
"There are bigger issues, like with the International Transport Workers' Federation, the ITF, we run the campaign the Ships of Shame and that campaign targeted all the unforeign vessels that were running under a de-regulated system and that's the problem.
"So you've got country of origin registering their vessels under another country that has minimal standards and qualifications that they have to reach so yet again you may have a new ship but in the end it's like the regulations aren't very stringent like they have in New Zealand."
Fleetwood would like to think the Gulf Livestock 1 incident was terrible luck as it was caught in Typhoon Maysak, however he said "the writing was on the wall".
"When you see the vessel, I think, over previous two years it's had many engine problems, troubles, it's been detained several times in Australia.
"I'm led to believe that after the vessel had sailed I was informed that the ship had left the port of Napier with maybe a 2 to a 3 degree list on so that's not good vessels leaving like that," he said, adding he also understood the captain was headed straight for a typhoon whilst knowing weather was bad.
"It's madness because the person you'd have to ask would be, and we can't, is the captain. You'd have to ask 'well what wisdom made you want to go driving towards a typhoon?'"
Maritime NZ told 1 NEWS it was "not aware of any information relating to a list involving Gulf Livestock 1 while it was in New Zealand waters".
It did not inspect the vessel at Napier Port, but an “independent surveyor was engaged by the vessel operators to attend the loading of the cattle at Napier as required by the relevant Maritime Rule Part 24 C”, this is “in order to ensure that loading is undertaken safely”.
The search for those still missing has been called off.