Port Of Wellington Master Developing Strategy To Salvage Broken Container Ship

As a stricken container vessel languishes in Tasman Bay awaiting a tow and equipment, specialist crew members are preparing to board.

Maritime New Zealand mentioned on Tuesday that they were supervising the tow of the Shiling to Wellington; however, it depended on favourable weather conditions.

Andrew Saunderson, the Incident controller, said that the vessel was anchored with a support towage vessel named the Skandi Emerald ready to assist, and the operation was to start on Wednesday.

Representation Image
Port planning to bring in a broken-down container ship. Representation Image

However, a favourable weather window is needed to enable the tow’s safe and secure completion.

Safety is a top priority, and Maritime NZ has been collaborating with the parties before moving on with the tow.

Saunderson mentioned that the ship’s owner informed the authority that they believed the vessel’s fault could be fixed in New Zealand.

Crew members and equipment specialising in towage were expected to get transferred to the vessel by Wednesday to facilitate its towing to Wellington.

Setting up the towing equipment and waiting for the ideal weather window will take some time.

Last month, the Transport Accident Investigation Commission opened its investigation into this incident that saw the Shiling drift closer to the shore near Wellington.

On 15 April, the Singapore-flagged container vessel was leaving Wellington Harbour when it experienced a huge loss of propulsion and steering.

It reportedly veered off the recommended track and was headed toward shallow water. The vessel dropped the anchor and kept the position until the support tugs reached and helped it back to the berth in Wellington.

On being repaired, it set sail from Wellington on 10 May, but in rough weather about 22 nm northwest of Farewell Spit, it started experiencing another propulsion and unexpected steering failure.

On 12 May, it reportedly issued a mayday call. It was rescued and towed to safety in Tasman Bay, where it has remained.

References: Container News, RNZ, Stuff

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