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Remains of 2007 Tutukaka Shipwreck Removed

Remains of 2007 Tutukaka Shipwreck Removed

Northland Regional Council staff have removed the remains of a ferrocement yacht which ran aground and sank off Church Bay, Tutukaka, several years ago after concerns from local residents that it was becoming a hazard.

The roughly 12-metre long ‘Susila’ ran aground at Church Bay in July 2007 when its anchor failed in bad weather.

The regional council’s Deputy Harbourmaster, Chidambaram Surendran, says the vessel’s owner subsequently removed some of the debris from it, but a large portion of its hull remained partially submerged and unrecovered.

Mr Surendran says despite lengthy efforts by council staff, the owner couldn’t be contacted to finish removing the wreck.

“After site evaluations by the then Harbourmaster, it was decided to mark the position of the wreck with a buoy so that other vessels could keep clear. As there was no oil pollution and the debris field was very small at the time, no further action was taken other than occasional monitoring.”

However, Mr Surendran says earlier this year, a local resident reported that the wreck was becoming a hazard and requested its removal.

“The wreck had moved along the seabed over time and was also beginning to deteriorate and break up. Reinforcing steel from it was also creating a hazard for children clambering over rocks in the area.”

Mr Surendran says with the owner still unable to be reached, the council decided to remove the wreckage itself during a lower-than-normal tide recently using the council’s workboat, ‘Waikare’.

He says regional council staff aboard the Waikare had worked for several hours to recover the debris, with some free assistance from Total Marine, a crane contractor that had been working in the nearby Tutukaka Marina.

“An estimated six tonnes of debris was removed in sections during this successful operation and the debris was then disposed of through a local contractor.”

Mr Surendran says the regional council typically removes several abandoned vessels from around Northland each year.

He says depending on where they are - and the state they are in - removing them can be time-consuming and costly, especially if they involved larger boats which had sunk at a mooring or run aground.

“Council staff will continue monitoring our coastal areas for potential hazards these wrecks could create. Anyone with concerns about such craft or hazards should contact council’s maritime staff on 0800 002 004.


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