Diesel removed from stricken vessel
Saturday, 23 August 2014 5:00 p.m.
More than 450 litres of diesel has been safely removed from the stricken pilothouse cutter which grounded on Motuhoura (Whale Island) near Whakatāne yesterday.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Pollution Prevention and Maritime officers worked on the unmanned boat this morning after it dragged its anchor and went ashore on its side on the southwestern shore of the island.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Senior Pollution Prevention Officer Adrian Heays said staff had managed to get all the fuel off by flooding the fuel tank with water to bring the diesel to the top where it could be pumped off into containers. They pumped until only water was being removed.
The skipper of the sail boat ‘Checkmate’, a 47 foot ferro-cement pilothouse cutter, said the boat’s engine blew up when salt water got into it.
“Now the fuel has been removed, and it appears there is little or no engine oil or wastewater left on-board, the vessel presents a hugely reduced pollution risk. There is little oil in the engine or gearbox since it blew up,” Mr Heays said. A small amount of diesel, less than a litre, had been mopped up with booms and absorbent pads.
Iwi and Department of Conservation representatives had also visited the site to say a karakia. The vessel’s owners and Maritime New Zealand will be working together to determine how to remove the vessel from the island.