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Auckland harbour patrols boosted for summer

Auckland harbour patrols boosted for summer

17 December 2008

Aucklanders getting out on the harbours and Hauraki Gulf over summer will have extra Harbourmaster patrols looking out for their safety, on weekdays as well as weekends.

Two new boats in the Auckland Regional Council (ARC) Harbourmaster fleet are being blessed and christened at a ceremony at the Outboard Boating Club in Tamaki today.

One is a patrol boat (HM2) that will replace a boat owned by Telecom and used by the ARC on a long-term basis. The fleet’s two patrol boats are now both owned by the ARC.

The other is a barge (Hiki Moana) that will take care of the “dirty work” such as responding to oil spills, leaving the patrol boats to focus on the extra summer patrols as well as year-round navigational safety priorities.

These improvements take effect as thousands of Auckland boaties gear up to take to the water this holiday season.

The Harbourmaster team will be carrying out more patrols for three months from Christmas. They will be out and about daily, on weekdays and weekends, and for the first time the Harbourmaster will also patrol, on a part-time basis, the Manukau Harbour.

More effective on-water operation

The Harbourmaster fleet comprises:

two 8.5m Rayglass Protector boats, which will concentrate on patrolling and navigational safety issues
an 8m purpose-built aluminium barge that will be used for such work as containing oil spills, installing and maintaining harbour signs and 200m beach markers, and recovering floating debris.

Stepping up its presence on the water is part of the ARC’s response to new requirements under the Port and Harbour Safety Code set by Maritime New Zealand.

As well as helping to meet the code requirements, Harbourmaster John Lee-Richards says the boats will mean a more effective on-water operation.

“We’ll have more longevity with our boats and be able to use them more appropriately for different jobs,” he says.

“Owning the two patrol boats gives us contingency for when either of them is out of action for any reason. They’ll also be less likely to be damaged by some of the other work we have to do, because the barge will pick up more of that.”

The barge will increase the Harbourmaster team’s self-sufficiency in oil spill situations and its ability to protect the environment and marine life during an oil spill.

ARC’s Environmental Management Chair Dianne Glenn says she is very pleased the Harbourmaster’s existing fleet has been upgraded.

The replacement boat along with the additional boat should make the harbour safer, which can only be a good thing. It is also good timing as the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series starts in late January.

“I am also delighted that the Harbourmaster is going to have a greater presence on the water during the summer season.”


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