Update on Taharoa Express
The bulk iron sand carrier Taharoa Express is currently heading towards Nelson and is expected to anchor in the sheltered waters of Tasman Bay around 5.30pm today.
Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) is closely tracking the progress of the vessel, which is listing (leaning) but stable after its load shifted in heavy swells. The 275m vessel is currently (as of 12 midday) in a position just north of D’Urville Island in the Marlborough Sounds, where it is making slow but steady progress in the face of extremely strong north-westerly winds of around 45-50 knots (80-85 km/h) and heavy swells of around 8 metres.
The vessel reported to MNZ at 2.30am this morning that it had a problem after its load of iron sand shifted while in rough sea about 42 nautical miles (78km) south west of Cape Egmont. The vessel is intact and not taking on any water, and all 25 crew are safe.
The vessel provides a regular cargo service between China or Japan from Port Taharoa in the Waikato.
While MNZ is concerned and is keeping a close eye on the situation, at this point there are no reports of the vessel or crew being in danger or distress.
MNZ is in direct communication with the vessel though the Port of Taharoa pilot and loading master, who is on board and is providing regular progress reports. Plans are in place to respond if the situation changes.
More information will be made available as it comes to hand.