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Ship cleaning on Ocean Beach Motuihe Island

Ship cleaning on Ocean Beach Motuihe Island, Hauraki Gulf.

The Waiheke Shipping owned 'Spirit of Waiheke' grounded on Ocean Beach, Motuihe Island, this morning.

Statement from ARC Chairman Michael Lee

09 August 2006

"I am appalled to discover that Waiheke Shipping has been using the beach on Motuihe Island to repair and maintain a commercial barge and I imagine most Aucklanders would share my concern.

"There are many places where ship or boat owners can get their boats fixed, big or small. Beaches in the Hauraki Gulf - especially on protected islands - are totally inappropriate for industrial activity," says Mr Lee.

"What Waiheke Shipping is doing is a violation of a natural area.

"If there is a loophole which allows large commercial barges to dock on pristine islands and carry out cleaning, painting and welding, then it will be plugged," says Mr Lee.

The owners claim the activity is taking place outside the boundaries of the Reserve Act for the protection of the island. But the gulf islands are linked and protected by the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act, which unlike the Reserve Act, specifically covers the seabed and the sea.

"Like most Aucklanders, I am very concerned about pollution and biosecurity on the island. The Department of Conservation recently completed a rodent eradication programme on Motuihe."

Mr Lee says he has written to the shipping company expressing his concern and to tell them not to use the island for boat cleaning purposes again.

Mr Lee is in discussion with the Minister of Conservation Chris Carter and is seeking legal advice in regard to taking joint enforcement action against the company.


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