5 Nov 2009

Only floating crane returns refurbished

9:35 pm on 5 November 2009

New Zealand's only floating crane has returned to Wellington, after undergoing a five-month refurbishment in Lyttelton.

The Hikitia is the only crane of its type in the world still operating, and the repair job marked the first time the ship had left Wellington since its arrival from Scotland in 1926.

Malcolm McGregor of the Maritime Heritage Trust, which owns the ship, says a new crane would have cost between $18 million and $20 million to build, so the $650,000 refit was money well spent.

He says sea-based lifts are often cheaper than land-based ones, and retaining the steam-powered Hikitia also maintains an important historical link to the Wellington waterfront.