Historic ship runs aground in river mouth

The historic ship was on its way back from Lyttelton where it had undergone repairs.

The historic ship was on its way back from Lyttelton where it had undergone repairs.

A historic ship has run aground at the Waimakariri river mouth on its return following repairs.

The MV Tuhoe has been in Lyttelton receiving more than $200,000 in repairs, and was returning to its home on the river in Kaiapoi.

According to the Kaiapoi Rivertown Trust website, it had the hold section of the starboard hull and hold floor framing rebuilt on dry dock in Lyttelton.

Police senior Sergeant John Daunton said it ran aground about 4pm, with 11 people aboard. The group was still on board at 6pm, as the crew waited for the tide to come up. 

Coastguard were monitoring the situation, Daunton said.

MV Tuhoe Kaiapoi Rivertown Trust chairman Philip Redmond said despite being on the beach, the boat appeared to be in a "fairly safe" position.

Most of the crew had been transported off the ship, with a skeleton crew left on board until it could be moved. It was unknown it this would be Sunday night or on Monday, so the skeleton crew may remain onboard overnight.

"We hope it's not damaged, it's designed to sit on the bottom, with a flat hull."

As well as having "significant" repairs completed, it had also just been surveyed, which was like a warrant of fitness for boats.

"It was coming back today, and it's almost made it."

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It had been escorted by the Coastguard.

"It's tricky crossing the bar, you have to do it at the right time and at the right channel."

Christchurch man John Knox said he and his wife saw the boat on the south side of the river mouth after they took a Sunday drive to photograph whitebaiters.

It was the first time Knox had seen the historic boat washed up on the beach.

"I thought, 'Oh that's not supposed to be there'.

"It's really sad because people put a lot of work in to looking after that thing over the years. It may have done some damage to the props and rudders."

The MV Tuhoe is an historic schooner that was built in 1919 and is now stationed on the Kaiapoi River wharf.

 - Stuff

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