Striking case of blues

00:00, Oct 11 2012
Colin Jefford
SHIP SHAPE: Colin Jefford who takes care of tug maintenance for Port Nelson, aboard the newly repainted tug WH Parr.

After 40 years serving Port Nelson, the tug W H Parr was due for a change in colour scheme, deckhand Colin Jefford thought.

Port company managers agreed and on Tuesday the little tug went back into service with a blue hull instead of the black it has always been painted.

The dark blue matches the Port Nelson logo and makes the W H Parr look "real sharp", Mr Jefford said.

These days the tug skippers and engineers are provided under contract by Nelson Tug Services. Mr Jefford and his long-time friend and co-worker Tom Stewart are the port company's link to the W H Parr and its bigger and younger fellow tug, the Huria Matenga. They are deckhands and also maintain both tugs.

Mr Jefford has a 29-year association with the W H Parr and is pleased with its condition, which drew compliments from the marine surveyors who have just inspected it after its two-year survey carried out on the Calwell Slip at Port Nelson.

"They commented on how clean and tidy she is. A clean ship is a happy ship," he said. Harbourmaster and port company marine operations manager Dave Duncan said the tug had been very well built in Dunedin and had spent its entire working life at Port Nelson.


"She's in very good condition and we have no plans to replace her in the immediate future.

"The only thing that would drive that is the ships getting bigger, and we're a bit limited by the size of the port."

He is also pleased with the new colour.

"I think she looks great."

In 2004, the W H Parr had a $1.7 million refit in which it got new engines and thrusters, increasing its bollard pull from 16 tonnes to 23 tonnes.

The port's second tug, the larger Huria Matenga with a 33-tonne bollard pull, turns 30 next year and might also be turning blue then, Captain Duncan said.

He said the W H Parr, named for long-serving Nelson Harbour Board secretary and later board member Bill Parr, did 60 to 65 per cent of the tug work at Port Nelson.

"She's a very versatile tug, the right size for fishing vessels, and is able to be used in shallower parts of the port."

The 40th birthday was celebrated at a function last month.

The Nelson Mail