PrimePort's new $2.4m pilot boat 'state of the art' - port boss
PrimePort's brand new $2.4 million pilot boat is "state of the art" and extremely safe, the port's chief executive says.
The Kiwa was greeted by two tugs and the pilot boat Ohau when it arrived in the Port of Timaru on Monday morning.
PrimePort chief executive Phil Melhopt said the Kiwa was a significant investment for the port.
"One of the biggest capital items we've purchased for many a year."
Melhopt felt the purchase was a good sign of the health of the company.
A group of Timaru Girls' High School students won a competition to name the boat with their submission of Kiwa, which Melhopt said was a fitting name as it meant "guardian of the Pacific Ocean".
It was also short and succinct, making it ideal for use over maritime radio, he said.
After 37 years of "faithful service", the Ohau had reached the end of its economic life, Melhopt said.
It would be kept around for a few months before being sold.
PrimePort pilot and acting marine manager Thejs Pedersen said the Kiwa was a "fantastic boat".
"It's a big day for all of us."
Pedersen said he was part of the team involved in finding the right boat for the port.
"The quality and the workmanship is just unbelievable. It self-rights. If it tips over it will right itself," he said.
It was also much faster than its predecessor.
"She'll get us out there in 10-15 minutes instead of half an hour."
Pedersen said the quality of the ride on the boat was also much smoother, as it would pierce the waves rather than ride over them.
"It's probably the most advanced design. I personally believe we've bought the top of the line."
The boat was a French design, built by Hart Marine in Melbourne.
When searching for its new boat, the port took into account how it could help the community, Pedersen said.
The boat has Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR), to assist those on board to easily spot people in the water, which would help with search and rescue operations.
Hart Marine manager Aaron Haigh said the boat travelled from Melbourne to Eden, in New South Wales, where it cleared customs and took on supplies for the journey, before departing on August 21. It took 72 hours to cross the Tasman Sea before clearing customs at Nelson.