High and dry off Atawhai

04:21, Jul 26 2013
IN NEED OF TUG: A Port Nelson pilot boat prepares to tow nthe Manui after it broke its moorings last night.

Strong winds last night have once more tested the mooring capabilities of Nelson boat owners, with at least one vessel breaking free and ending up high and dry in the Nelson Haven off Atawhai.

A former tug boat, Manui, which arrived in Nelson from the Pacific a couple of months ago and which appeared to have been moored in the inner harbour north of the lighthouse, was this morning on a sandbank in the haven off Marybank.

The Port Nelson pilot boat Waimea II had gone to its aid and had attached a line in an effort to tow the vessel back into the channel.

Nelson harbourmaster Dave Duncan said the vessel, an old tug thought to have come from Nuku'alofa in Tonga, arrived in Nelson a couple of months ago and was moored in the haven. He said the pilot boat was trying to tow it free on this morning's incoming tide, against a strong southwest wind.

"If we don't get it now, we're unlikely to get it as the tide is coming in and it's going to get pushed further up the haven," Captain Duncan said.

He said 41 knot (75kmh) winds were recorded this morning.

The owner would be located once the vessel was secured. Captain Duncan said a responsible boat owner would have ensured this did not happen.