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Salvage Of Sunken Boat Unlikely Before The Weekend – Mercury Bay

The salvage of a 50-foot launch which sunk in Mercury Bay yesterday afternoon is unlikely to occur prior to the weekend, says Waikato Regional Council.

The vessel struck rocks near Motukorure Island – also known as Centre Island – sometime before 3.45pm and sank fairly quickly with 1300 litres of diesel on board. The skipper and passenger were uninjured.

Regional council maritime officers assessed the scene this morning and salvors have also visited the site during the day.

“We have been able to determine that this vessel is about 10 years old, but new to the owner, and is sitting upright in more than 20 metres of water,” said Regional On Scene Commander Cliff Gibson.

“The conditions overnight have been favourable and the situation remains unchanged – the vessel has not moved and there is no evidence of oil and no smell of diesel,” he said

“Responsibility for salvage of the vessel sits with the owner, and indications from the salvor are that it’s highly unlikely the vessel is able to be recovered prior to the weekend.

“The good news is that offshore wind conditions are forecast to remain favourable for at least the next week, meaning the vessel is likely to remain in situ and therefore at low risk of breaking up and impacting the environment,” Mr Gibson said.

A regional council-led response team has been working through the day with iwi and the Department of Conservation to identify culturally significant sites and undertake wildlife assessments.

“We have contingency plans in place should circumstances change from the current prevailing conditions and situation, but remain confident there is minimal risk to the environment at this time,” Mr Gibson said.

The regional council’s maritime officers will continue to visit the site of the stricken vessel twice a day – including over the weekend – to assess the scene for any changes.

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