29 Aug 2012

Grounded boat refloated near Bluff

11:22 pm on 29 August 2012

Salvage divers have successfully refloated the fishing boat Torea which ran aground in Foveaux Strait.

The boat with 26 people on board hit rocks on Friday and the skipper managed to ground the vessel on Ruapuke Island, allowing the passengers to safely get off.

New Zealand Diving and Salvage director Dougal Fergus says the operation was complicated as shallow water meant inflatable lift bags placed under the vessel weren't working properly.

However, on Tuesday night the boat was lifted and the hole plugged, allowing the Torea to be towed back to Bluff.

Insurers are assessing the vessel, which the owner hopes can be repaired.

A Maritime New Zealand investigation is under way to determine why the boat hit the rocks.