Operation to right listing ship continues

25 June 2007

The operation to right the listing bulk iron sand carrier Taharoa Express is continuing as planned but is likely to take some time to complete, Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) says.

The 275-metre long carrier has been anchored in Tasman Bay, near Nelson, since Friday evening. The crew have completed the first stage of the operation to right the vessel, after its load shifted in heavy seas near Cape Egmont early on Friday. “Righting the vessel is a slow and steady process, which has to be managed carefully in stages,” says John Mansell, MNZ’s General Manager of Maritime Operations. “Because of the size of the Taharoa Express and the large quantities of cargo and ballast involved, it’s difficult to say how long this might take, but at this stage it could be several days.”

This process so far has involved pumping in sea water ballast to help correct the vessel’s list.  A MNZ Maritime Safety Inspector, who has been on board the vessel monitoring the operation, has reported that the list has now reduced from 18 to 14 degrees. The vessel operators have now decided to keep the vessel at this list and have begun the next step of the operation.

This has seen the crew spend the day using pumps flown in from Nelson to remove excess water contained in the vessel’s cargo holds. The water is used to help pump in the iron sand and is a normal part of loading operations. Additional pumps may be brought in to help speed up the process.

Once the excess water has been removed, more ballast will be taken on to continue the slow and steady process of bringing the vessel upright.

There are no concerns for the safety of the 25 crew or the vessel. The vessel will not depart until the weather has eased and MNZ is satisfied that it is seaworthy.

A further update will be provided tomorrow afternoon.

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