Charges laid against owners of sunken boat which killed 3

Charges have been laid against the company that owned a fishing boat which sank off the Canterbury coast.

The sinking of the FV Jubilee took three lives and may have been caused by the simple act of leaving a hose running.

The 16m long vessel sank in October 2015, and remains 40 metres underwater south of Banks Peninsula.

Attempts to salvage the wreckage failed, forcing dive teams to gather evidence from the sea floor.

The report released by the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) describes the sinking as "unusual and unexpected".

TAIC chief investigator Tim Burfoot calls it an accident and a tragedy.

A hose left pumping into the fish hold for several hours "has flooded to a point where it's obviously lost stability and capsized or just sunk", he says.

Mr Burfoot says there was no alarm installed to warn the sleeping crew, who became trapped as the boat filled with water.

"If it had had the visual alert in the wheel house it's possible it may have alerted the watch keeper earlier and it could have actually stopped the boat sinking."

In a statement the company that operated the vessel says they "welcome efforts to establish the cause of the sinking".

"[We] have cooperated with and had input in the TAIC investigation. It is positive that the TAIC report has been finally completed and released."

Sinking alarms have since been installed in the company's other fishing vessels, and they've also made changes to the wheel houses to give crews a chance to escape in an emergency.

This afternoon Maritime New Zealand confirmed it has filed charges against three companies involved with the ownership and operation of the sunken vessel.