NEW Zealand’s Port Taranaki welcomed a new-build tug to its fleet on a sunny morning.
Kīnaki rounded the main breakwater on schedule at 1100 and was greeted by its sister tugs Rupe and Tuakana, providing the traditional greeting.
The new tug is a 25-metre harbour tractor tug, built at Sanmar Shipyards in Turkey and was based on a design by Robert Allan of Canada. Kīnaki has a bollard pull of more than 60 tonnes, and is replacing the 47-year-old Kupe, which has a bollard pull of 28 tonnes.
Kīnaki was completed earlier this year and, after sea trials in Turkey, was loaded onto the heavy lift vessel MV Fairpartner, arriving at Lyttelton last month where final commissioning checks were undertaken before its journey north.
Kīnaki left Lyttelton at 0300 on Monday and had a relatively smooth trip up the east coast of the South Island, through Cook Strait, and along the North Island west coast.
Tug master Mark Bamford, who led a six-person Port Taranaki marine team that crewed Kīnaki from Lyttelton, said they had a wind change that gave us a southerly all the way up, which kept the voyage to time.
“There was a bit of swell from the west, this side of the strait, but otherwise it was a pretty comfortable trip,” he said.
“We were very pleased with how she handled. The principles of driving the tug are the same, but the modern equipment means she has greater power and better handling. It’s terrific and very exciting times to have a state-of-the-art vessel as part of our fleet.”
Port Taranaki chief executive Guy Roper said it was great to see the vessel in Taranaki waters and Kīnaki was expected to be in service in the next week or two.
“There will be some familiarisation for the tug masters and crew before she gets into service – getting up to speed with the tug’s features, equipment and increased power,” he said.
“It’s fantastic she’s here. It’s been a process of more than three years specifying our needs, commissioning, designing, building and launching Kīnaki, so we’re looking forward to having her working as a modern addition to our fleet.”
An official naming and blessing ceremony with Ngāti Te Whiti hapu, who were involved in the naming process, will be held at a later date.