Derelict ship causes headache for Tauranga harbourmaster
The owner of a boat removed from Tauranga's Pilot Bay has stopped returning the harbourmaster's calls, but can still expect to receive a bill.
The trimaran sank on its mooring on Tuesday, creating an environmental and safety risk for boat users.
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council deputy harbourmaster was charged with removing the boat from the water, but does not want the ratepayer to pick up the tab.
Under the Maritime Transport Act, harbourmasters are required to take all practical steps to refloat a sunken vessel, take possession and remove it from the harbour.
"Initial efforts to refloat the vessel that evening were unsuccessful," Deputy Harbourmaster Daniel Rapson said.
"The following day, though, the team took some local divers out on their new boat Awanui and they were able to successfully refloat and salvage the sunken vessel and guide it towards the shore."
The boat was greeted by a waiting digger and bulldozer, which disposed of the wreck. The final price tag for the disposal is not yet known.
"The owner is advised that regional council will be recovering all the expenses incurred in removing this wreck," Rapson said.
"Its a good reminder that the upkeep of a boat is the owners responsibility.
"These situations can be frustrating. If the skipper had taken the upkeep of his vessel seriously we wouldn't be here in the first place."
Abandoned boats on moorings are a hot topic among harbourmasters in New Zealand as they not only need to be recovered but create bio hazards.
Recreational boats travelling from pest-infested waters such as parts of Auckland, Northland and Coromandel can bring pests that live on the vegetation left on boat hulls in the harbour.
These can threaten local fisheries.
The Harbourmasters office would like the owner of the boat removed from Tauranga to make contact.