An alarm system may have prevented the sinking of a ship off the Banks Peninsula that claimed the lives of three crewman, an official inquiry has found.
The 90-tonne fishing boat the Jubilee, sank near the South Island peninsula on October 18, 2015.
A mayday call was put out by the ship's skipper at 4.20am that morning, saying the vessel was taking on water.
Transport Accident Investigation Commission findings on the sinking, released on Thursday, found flooding of the boat's hold was the main factor that contributed to the capsizing or sinking of the Jubilee.
"It was about as likely as not that the cause of the fish hold flooding was water from a deck wash hose that had been left running through an open hatch," the report said.
The commission found the absence of an alarm warning for a high level of water in the bilge was crucial, as the crew may have been able to stem potential flooding.
Two other issues identified in the report were the wheelhouse not being well-designed "[affording] the crew too few options for escaping in the event of capsize or sinking" and more vigilance being needed during watch-keeping to identify the stability of the boat.
Following a search for the vessel, a recovery mission retrieved the bodies of the three crewman, who were in the wheelhouse. The Jubilee has stayed on the ocean floor.
The three crew members were Jared Reese Husband, 47, Paul Russell Bennett, 35, and Terry Donald Booth, 55.