Naval ships in Bluff to patrol and to help

GWYNETH HYNDMAN
Last updated 05:00 09/02/2013
Southland Times photo
DOUG FIELD/Fairfax NZ
Lt Seager Clarkson on board the HMNZS Otago at Southport in Bluff on Friday.

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Two naval ships with two very different missions are in Bluff this weekend before going back to sea on Monday.

Yesterday, Lieutenant Alex Daprini of the Taupo said the 55-metre ship with 32 on board would be assisting Ministry of Fisheries officers in their patrols up the west coast, before a stop in Wellington.

The ship's crew would be looking for vessels travelling in marine reserves, illegal fishing and fish dumping, he said.

No illegal activity had been spotted since they left Oamaru in rough weather conditions, he said. Most vessels accepted they would be boarded for inspection and crew were compliant.

It was a separate course from the 85-metre vessel Otago parked next to them in Bluff, which would head south on Monday with 35 on board to Campbell Island, a crew member said.

The Otago will assist the Department of Conservation to rebuild a wharf, and to send DOC staff to shore, among other projects.

Lt Daprini said most of the naval crew on both ships had the weekend off to do some exploring before they set off on their missions.

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