28 Oct 2011

Another ship grounds near Tauranga: no oil spilled

7:15 pm on 28 October 2011

A container ship that ran aground near Mt Maunganui on Friday morning is to be towed into Tauranga Harbour.

The Port of Tauranga says that shortly after 10.30am the Dutch-registered MV Schelde Trader went aground just north of North Rock, near the base of Mt Maunganui.

Maritime New Zealand says the ship was refloated less than 20 minutes later and after riding at anchor off the main Mount beach it was brought back into port late on Friday afternoon.

The agency says there is no sign of damage to the ship so far and no reports of injury to the crew, and no oil has spilled.

It's believed that the Schelde Trader (133 metres long, with a deadweight of 8000 tonnes) was under the control of a pilot as it left port, lost power.

'It could have been a lot worse'

Bay of Plenty Regional Council spokesperson Eddie Grogan says it's not known yet what caused the loss of power. He says the extent of any damage will become apparent after the vessel is inspected.

The operations manager for the Port of Tauranga, Nigel Drake, told Checkpoint the ship was in port to refuel, and the situation could have been a lot worse.

As it was, he says, the weather was good, the ship grounded gently, and the ship was able to be refloated quickly.

Mr Drake says it is very rare for a ship to lose power - the last time it happened in the area was in June last year.