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Navy Ship Goes To The Aid Of Vessel In Distress

New Zealand Defence Force
Te Ope Kaatua O Aotearoa
Media Release
15 October 2008

Navy Ship Goes To The Aid Of Vessel In Distress

Preparing the Zodiac for rescue.

A 53ft yacht which ran aground on a reef outside Nuku’alofa, Tonga, was fortunate to have the Norwegian dive support vessel NOR SKY and Navy’s Hydrographic Vessel RESOLUTION close at hand.

After grounding in the early hours of the morning on Saturday 4 October, the yacht issued a MAYDAY which resulted in both RESOLUTION and NOR SKY being on the scene within 45 minutes. Along with a small boat of local fishing-boat, the positioning capability of the NOR SKY and the manoeuvrability of the Navy’s Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) effected a recovery within 30 minutes of arriving at the stricken yacht.

HMNZS RESOLUTION’s Commanding Officer, Commander Murray Tuffin, praised the response and seamanship of Captain Roman Tarnowski and the crew of NOR SKY. Commander Tuffin highlighted that the capability of NOR SKY is something that any stranded vessel could only dream of having available at short notice. The ability to maintain a ship of such capability in an extremely stable position while applying a controlled tow of the vessel off the reef was a critical element leading to the successful outcome.

RESOLUTION’s RHIB also attached a line to the yacht’s main halyard at the top of the mast and cantilevered the yacht onto its side to reduce the draught at the keel whilst NOR SKY pulled the yacht clear of the reef. No injuries and only minor damage resulted.

Ensuring the yacht was indeed safely out of harm’s way and back under her own sail heading for Nuku’alofa Marina for minor repairs and a chance for nerves to recover, RESOLUTION returned back to her operational area and continued her survey operations.

Assisting fellow mariners in need was again a priority the following weekend when RESOLUTION’s RHIB went to the aid of a local fishing vessel and a group of kayakers!

HMNZS RESOLUTION departed Devonport Naval Base on 22 September to undertake hydrographic survey operations in the Pacific Islands on behalf of Land Information New Zealand. The task involves resurveying areas that remain charted in fathoms rather than metres, and validating positional accuracy so that electronic charts can be produced in these areas which are of high interest for both commercial and recreational mariners.

RESOLUTION is currently working in the islands of Tonga with assistance from the Tongan Defence Service and Tongan Ministry of Land Survey Natural Resources and Environment (MLSNRE). RESOLUTION will also work in Samoa and the Cook Islands before returning to New Zealand for her ship’s company to be reunited with family in time for Christmas.


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