MARITIME NZ has detained the vessel Achilles Bulker after it lost its rudder and suffered a steering failure in a Tauranga channel.

The Panama-flagged bulk carrier (IMO 9270907) was departing the port of Tauranga on Monday 24 July, carrying logs bound for China, when it encountered steering problems.

The rudder had disconnected from the ship during the outbound pilotage. The vessel dropped anchor and was later assisted by tugs to a safe anchorage. Divers recovered the rudder and brought it ashore.

Achilles Bulker was anchored off Tauranga at Mount Maunganui on Tuesday afternoon (1 August).

Maritime NZ said the detention notice means the vessel is prohibited from leaving Tauranga until the certain conditions have been satisfied.

“Due to the rudder failure, the Achilles Bulker will need to be towed to a dry dock for repairs,” Maritime NZ said.

It noted the owners of the vessel are responsible for managing the towage process.

“Maritime NZ is working closely with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the Port of Tauranga on the arrangements to bring the vessel back into Tauranga to remove the cargo of logs before it can be towed.”

Maritime NZ has started an investigation into the rudder failure.

New Zealand’s Transport Accident Investigation Commission said it has notified Panama (as the flag state) of the incident and has invited its participation in a commission inquiry.

Achilles Bulker is 177 metres long (LOA) and has a carrying capacity of 32729 tonnes DWT. It was built in 2003.