Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Three Months Salvage Operation Ends Near Golden Bay

Mistral Fishing Vessel

Early Wednesday July 14 at 2.39am rescuers scrambled to a distress call from the fishing vessel FV Mistral which had run aground at Kaihoka Point on the rugged west coast of Golden Bay.

The Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter pilot Tim Douglas-Clifford managed to airlift the solo skipper off the rocks.

The vessel which fishes out of Motueka became wedged between rocks.That was the beginning of a salvage mission that would end nearly three months later.

Tasman District Council Regulatory Services Manager Adrian Humphries was Regional On Scene Commander and pulled together the Oil Spill Response Team.

There were concerns that heavy oil, hydraulic fluid and diesel fuel could leak from the boat and contaminate the remote coastline, but an initial aerial inspection of the wreck site noted Mistral was fortunately upright and in good condition.

In discussion with the boat’s insurer, it was decided complete recovery of the vessel was too expensive and practically impossible.

Access to the wreck was difficult. It involved a two-kilometre quad bike ride from the nearest track then a 70-metre cliff climb, but nets, cables, ropes and other potential navigational hazards had to be cleared from the scene to make it safe.

Helicopters were called in to recover the debris, but this could only be done when the tides were right, and seven planned missions were thwarted by severe weather.

Specialised equipment was flown in, and the hull was pumped out, then more than 200 litres of heavy oil and hydraulic fluid were drained from the wreck. In the end around eight tonnes of gear was plucked off Mistral.

The cost of the recovery effort was close to $50,000 which was met by the boat’s insurer.

The only thing left of the boat now is its bare steel hull, firmly wedged in rocks below the Kaihoka Point cliffs.

Tasman District Council

             Pigeon Post News


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