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Frigate sinking will draw crowds to the coast

NEWS RELEASE
4 November 2005

Frigate sinking will draw crowds to the coast

The former frigate HMNZS Wellington will be sunk off Houghton Bay on Saturday 12 November 2005, at 3pm, weather and sea conditions permitting.

Crowds of spectators are expected to head to the South Coast to watch the sinking (about 800m from land) and the Wellington City Council is warning that traffic congestion is likely.

Motorists are urged to park their vehicles away from the coastal road and take a bus to Houghton Bay. Houghton Bay School is providing a limited amount of parking in their grounds and at Houghton Bay Park as a fundraiser.

The Island Bay launching area and car park will be reserved for police and officials and closed to the public from 6am to 6pm on the day of the sinking. South Coast boat ramps are likely to be extremely busy and spectators should consider using other ramps.

Motorists are being warned to watch for pedestrians between Princess Bay and Island Bay, park legally and keep off footpaths and areas of vegetation. No road closures are planned, but the Council will put up signs to warn residents to expect traffic delays.

A 600m vessel exclusion zone will be in place around the vessel from its arrival at the sink site (early Saturday morning), until approx two to three hours after sinking. The exclusion zone will be clearly identified by buoys, and Maritime authorities, including police launch Lady Elizabeth III and two police inflatable boats, will be on the water to maintain safety zones during this time.

The former frigate will be sunk in 26m of water and will come to rest 6m below sea level at low tide.

Boats attending the sinking are asked to anchor outside the exclusion zone and remain anchored until the vessel has been sunk. Please do not travel through the exclusion zone if leaving the area immediately after sinking. Police divers will complete clearance dives and report to the F69 Trust and its safety experts, who will make the decision to declare the ship open. The clearance dives could take several hours.

If weather or sea conditions are not suitable on 12 November, the sinking will be postponed until the next two clear days.

ENDS

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