THE CONTAINERSHIP Shiling was due to commence harbour trials on Monday afternoon ahead of a long-awaited departure from CentrePort Wellington.

The Singapore-flagged vessel broke down in New Zealand waters twice in the last three months. After the most recent incident (in May) the ship was towed back to Wellington.

Maritime NZ detained Shiling on its return, requiring the ship meet “stringent conditions” before its eventual departure.  

Maritime NZ deputy chief executive, regulatory operations Deb Despard said the organisation’s focus has been on ensuring steps were taken to ensure the vessel coud safely leave New Zealand waters.

“This has been an ongoing process involving us [Maritime NZ], the vessel, its owners and their agents, insurers, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, Shiling’s classification society, the Wellington harbour master, CentrePort and related organisations such as towage providers,” she said.

“Everyone has worked with the aim to get the Shiling safely back to Singapore.”

Maritime NZ said Shiling’s owner is still responsible managing issues with the vessel and meeting conditions imposed by Maritime NZ, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and the vessel’s classification society.

Efforts to understand and remedy the issues have continued over the past month. Maritime NZ said the vessel’s owner has brought in experts from overseas, including engineers from the manufacturer of the engine.

It is also working with its classification society to ensure the necessary work is carried out effectively and safely.

“Today is a significant step in getting the vessel ready to depart New Zealand waters,” Ms Despard said.

“The harbour trial is the first of two, the second being a more rigorous test outside the harbour.

“As outlined in the conditions imposed; the vessel’s sea trials, and a portion of its journey out of Wellington, will see the Shiling accompanied by a suitable escort vessel which is capable of emergency towage.

“We do not want to see a repeat of what we saw in April and May with this vessel, that is why we put a significant number of stringent conditions in place.”

Maritime NZ intends to closely monitor the trials and the departure from New Zealand.

It said dates for the sea trial and the vessel’s departure for Singapore are yet to be confirmed, and will be determined by feedback from the trials, conversations with other relevant parties and the weather.