Large ship forced to take second stab at Cut

00:17, Jan 04 2013
Pos Knight
SECOND CHANCE: The Pos Knight manoeuvres in strong winds and rough seas near the entrance to Port Nelson.

A large ship's late turn away from the Cut at Port Nelson on Wednesday was "like a missed approach on an aeroplane when they go around", a witness said.

"I've been living on that hill for 20 years and I've never seen a ship there," Port Hills resident David Lyttle said.

The 19.796-ton Pos Knight, a bulk carrier arriving from Timaru to unload fertiliser, was turned away by its pilot and did a loop before coming through the Cut on its second approach, berthing just before 1pm.

There were high winds and rough seas at the time.

Mr Lyttle, who photographed the manoeuvre, said the ship was "miles off the channel" and certainly "way less than a kilometre from the Boulder Bank".

"It's quite amazing to see a vessel like that there."


Harbourmaster Dave Duncan said winds were gusting at 25 to 30 knots at the time. "One of the tugs wasn't quite ready for the pilot, so he turned around to re-approach. He took quite a precautionary approach, and I have no issue with it."

Captain Duncan said the pilots had a "point of no return", before which they could turn a ship, and it happened occasionally. Tugs were ordered for a certain time and the ship's movements didn't always coincide exactly with the plan. Two tugs were always used for ships the size of the Pos Knight.

The Pos Knight came into port lightly loaded and its draught was only 5.5 metres, giving it sufficient depth of water to safely make the turn, he said.

"It may have looked close, but I'm quite sure there was no issue with it as far as the port's concerned."