Friday 22nd Sep, 2017

New pilot launch breezes into Wellington

Captain Charles Smith with Te Haa in background. Photo: CentrePort
Captain Charles Smith with Te Haa in background. Photo: CentrePort

A BRAND new pilot vessel is soon to start working in Wellington Harbour.

The jet-powered Te Haa has a maximum speed of 32 knots and is expected to provide time and fuel efficiencies as it ferries pilots to and from ships calling at CentrePort.

Te Haa was welcomed into Wellington by Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika, who had advised on the naming of the vessel.

The vessel name, Te Haa, means “the breath” in Maori. It refers to the breath exchanged between people when they touch noses in a hongi, much like the way pilot vessels meet incoming ships.

CentrePort chief executive Derek Nind said Te Haa would help the port accommodate future growth and larger ships.

“The vessel will provide significant health and safety benefits to our pilots and launch crews, since it has been designed to provide a safe platform in adverse weather,” he said.

“She will enable central New Zealand businesses to connect with international markets, and provide a new level of safety, speed and efficiency.”

Mr Nind said it was fantastic to see Kiwi expertise coming together to produce the vessel.

“The jets came from HamiltonJet in Christchurch, the Scania engines were supplied by South Pacific Diesel Systems in Porirua, the electronics were supplied and fitted by ENL in Nelson, and it was all put together at Q-West Boat Builders in Whanganui,” he said.

Q-West also built CentrePort’s current pilot launch, the 25-year-old Tarakena. This vessel will remain in service and is due for a refurbishment before returning to Wellington to act as a backup pilot vessel.

Q-West general manager Colin Mitchell said he was pleased the company won the project through a competitive international tender process.

“We were extremely proud to be selected, and of the men and women that have produced this quality craft,” he said.

“CentrePort now has one of the most high-tech pilot vessels in New Zealand, and we look forward to continuing our long-standing relationship with them in the future.”

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