07 March 2019

A new multi-purpose vessel was added to Bay of Plenty’s maritime fleet after being blessed by local kaumatua Josh Te Kani at a special ceremony today.

The Sealegs vessel was named ‘Kaha’, meaning strength – a strong and flexible vessel that will be used to respond to events, such as marine oil spills and navigational hazards, and carry out patrols.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Harbourmaster Peter Buell said there are a number of very shallow or dry areas of the Tauranga Harbour that cannot be accessed by other vessels or vehicles.

“Kaha is unique in that it will be able to get close to shallow and dry areas in the Tauranga Harbour, such as Centre Bank, Tilby Channel or Pahoia, or an air crash in Waipu Bay.

“When a vessel runs aground, or in the case of an oil spill; Kaha can get close enough with large amounts of spill equipment and pumps to deal with it efficiently.”

“Kaha enables us to respond to urgent calls much faster.”

Kaha will also be used to assist emergency services with rescues, he says.

“In shallow waters, or the case of spinal injuries, Kaha can drive up beaches and be at a level that emergency services can stretcher a patient off a vessel,” he says.

Buell says as an inflatable with soft sides and edges; Kaha has the additional benefit of coming alongside other vehicles without causing damage.

“Perfect for carrying out patrols.” 

The new vessel will be based in Tauranga, but its capability to be towed by road trailer means Kaha will serve the wider Bay of Plenty region as required, he says.