While a distressed container ship remains stranded in Tasman Bay, awaiting assistance and necessary equipment, a team of specialized crew members is gearing up to board the vessel.
On Tuesday, Maritime New Zealand announced that they were overseeing the towing operation of the Shiling to Wellington, contingent upon favorable weather conditions.
Andrew Saunderson, the Incident Controller, confirmed that the vessel was anchored and a support towage vessel named the Skandi Emerald was on standby for assistance. The operation was scheduled to commence on Wednesday.
However, a suitable weather window is necessary to ensure the safe and successful completion of the tow. Safety remains the highest priority, and Maritime NZ has been closely coordinating with all parties involved before proceeding with the towing operation.
Saunderson stated that the ship’s owner had informed the authorities that they believed the vessel’s issue could be resolved in New Zealand. It was anticipated that the transfer of specialized crew members and equipment for towing would take place by Wednesday to facilitate the vessel’s transportation to Wellington.
The preparation of towing equipment and the wait for suitable weather conditions will require some time. The Transport Accident Investigation Commission initiated an investigation last month into the incident involving the Shiling, which resulted in the vessel drifting closer to the shore near Wellington.
On April 15th, the container vessel, flying the Singapore flag, encountered a significant loss of propulsion and steering as it departed Wellington Harbour. It deviated from the recommended course and began heading towards shallow waters. In response, the vessel deployed its anchor and maintained its position until support tugs arrived to assist in safely returning it to the berth in Wellington.
After undergoing repairs, the vessel departed from Wellington on May 10th. However, adverse weather conditions in the vicinity of Farewell Spit, approximately 22 nautical miles northwest, resulted in another propulsion and steering malfunction. On May 12th, a distress call was issued, and the vessel was rescued and towed to safety in Tasman Bay, where it has remained since then.