Taharoa Express back on even keel

4 July 2007

Efforts to correct the listing bulk iron sand carrier Taharoa Express have been successful, with the vessel now back on an even keel.

However, after meeting with the vessel’s owners, Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) has imposed conditions on the ship to ensure that it is safe before moving from its current position.

The 275-metre long carrier has been anchored in Tasman Bay, near Nelson, since June 22, after arriving with an 18 degree list (or lean). The crew have been working steadily since then to bring the vessel back onto an even keel, after its cargo shifted in heavy seas near Cape Egmont.

MNZ’s key condition is that the remaining iron sand cargo must now be levelled off as much as possible to ensure that the least amount of counter-ballast is required to keep the vessel upright. The ship will not move until MNZ is satisfied that this has been done and it is safe for it to depart.

In the meantime, diggers will be flown via helicopter out to the vessel to help even up the cargo, which may take a few days.  The crew are also today continuing to pump off excess fresh water used to help load the iron sand into the cargo holds, which is a normal part of loading operations.

Damage to some of the vessel’s electrical systems caused by fresh water leaking during loading will also need to be repaired before it can depart.

Once MNZ is satisfied that the ship is safe, plans at this stage are for the vessel to return to Port Taharoa to complete loading.

A further update will be provided if or when the situation changes.

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