Probe after boats collide off East Cape

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) officials are waiting in Tauranga for a fishing boat to limp in to port after it was involved in a collision off East Cape.

The boat, The Commission, is expected in Tauranga this afternoon.

Its trip back home is being aided by another fishing boat, after a collision about 20km off East Cape around 3am Monday.

Officials would talk to the skipper, and examine The Commission as part of their investigations, MNZ spokesman Steve Rendle said.

Cargo ship Samjin was now free to go, after being ordered to cease operations and remain in port while investigations were carried out.

Samjin berthed at Tauranga yesterday. It was detained when a ship tracking system found it had been in the area at the time of the crash.

''It can now proceed. The advice is there is no reason to detain it, other lines of inquiry are being followed,'' Rendle said.

Samjin was carrying logs after sailing from Port Chalmers in Dunedin.

MNZ was not ruling out other ships, which may have been in the area at the time.