12 Apr 2013

Fishermen rescued from burning boat

8:14 pm on 12 April 2013

Four men have been rescued from a burning commercial fishing vessel in high seas West Coast of the South Island.

The crew of the Honey Dew made a mayday call and let off a red flare when the boat caught fire near Knight's Point, about 50km north of Jackson Bay, at 6.20am on Friday.

Police say another commercial fishing vessel in the area responded to the mayday and rescued the crew.

Sergeant Sean Judd says the men were unhurt, and were lucky to have been rescued from such a remote area. Police will be speaking to them.

The Honey Dew was about 500 metres offshore north of Haast in rough seas.

A West Coast Regional Council spokesperson says the vessel has started leaking marine diesel and machinery lubricant into the sea.

Planning and environment manager Michael Meehen says a light sheen of oil can be seen on the surface of the sea.

Mr Meehan says the diesel is expected to break up in the rough seas and it is unlikely to cause a major environmental disaster.