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Schelde Trader loses power leaving Port

Friday, 28 October 2011 2:35 p.m.

A small container ship leaving the Port of Tauranga under pilotage lost power and grounded on the North West Rock at the entrance to Tauranga Harbour around 10.35am today.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Group Manager for Water Management, Eddie Grogan said the 133 metre vessel, MV Schelde Trader, was on the rocks for about 20 minutes before being re-floated and taken by tugs outside the Harbour entrance. 

"At this stage we believe the vessel incurred only minor damage, and no oil has leaked into the environment," Mr Grogan said. 

"When the strong tidal currents at the Harbour entrance subside later today, the vessel will be brought back into the Port for inspection. 

"Preliminary assessments indicate that a mechanical failure caused the loss of power, which then resulted in a loss of steering." 

Mr Grogan said he was pleased with the actions taken by the ship's crew and Port staff in response to the problem. 

"While mechanical failure on ships isn't a common problem, these things happen from time-to-time and our harbour masters are well-trained to deal with situations of this type."

Mr Grogan stressed that this incident is unrelated to the grounding of the Rena cargo ship on 5 October 2011, or the Maritime New Zealand response to that situation.


For further media information please contact: Carol Nichols, Senior Communications Advisor, on 0800 880 881 (ext 8150)

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