Budget funding for tugboat study welcomed by councils

  • Published Date 31 May 2024
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Funding for a feasibility study into acquiring an ocean-going tugboat has been welcomed by Greater Wellington and Marlborough District Council.

Budget 2024 allocates $600,000 for the study, following the recent breakdowns of a Cook Strait ferry and a container ship in central New Zealand waters.

Greater Wellington chair Daran Ponter and Marlborough Mayor Nadine Taylor say they are pleased the government will assess the potential of an ocean-going tugboat to prevent disaster.

“Loss of life or an oil spill could be avoided. Major maritime rescue missions could be mounted with a tug designed to salvage large vessels adrift on the open sea,” Cr Ponter says.

“With replacements for the Cook Strait ferries not on the horizon, and more service being pressed from the aged ferry fleet – we can no longer rely on luck to stave off disaster.”

Mayor Taylor says an ocean-going tugboat could be used for more than emergencies.

“A vessel with the power and range to mount rescue missions in New Zealand waters could be put to good use when not needed in a crisis,” Mayor Taylor says.

“The study needs to scope the wider utility of ocean-going tugs as well as their ability to save stricken ferries.

“It’s heartening when maritime safety advice from the two councils who oversee one of the world’s most beautiful, yet treacherous shipping channels is heard.”

Updated May 31, 2024 at 2:46 PM

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