21 Mar 2007

Owners of grounded Niue fishing boat fear boat cannot be salvaged

10:03 am on 21 March 2007

The company that owns a fishing trawler that's been stuck on Niue's reef for over a week, says it's unlikely the boat is salvageable.

The Jay Belinda, owned by Auckland-based company Reef Shipping, has been stranded off the east coast of Niue, since Saturday last week

The managing director of Reef Shipping, Philip McNicholl, says their insurance company is looking at bringing a tug boat from either Tonga or New Zealand to remove the vessel.

He says the company hasn't written the boat off but thinks the vessel is now considered a constructive loss and probably can't be salvaged.

"The damage is quite extensive, so I think the priority now is really just to remove the wreck. The cost of repair will probably exceed the value of the vessel. So the insurance company will look firstly at removing the vessel from the reef, then they'll look at whether that would be repaired. Every day it's sitting there the more and more damage that's being done."

Philip McNicholl says the incident has been very disruptive for Niue's fishing industry, with all resources involved in trying to tow the Jay Belinda.

He says the vessel will probably be towed within one to two weeks.