Wahoo ‘needs a lot of work’ before it can go

EASTLAND Port does not want a yacht that was infested with fanworm put back into the water until the issue of insurance is cleared up, the District Council’s environmental planning and regulations committee was told.

If the Brazilian-owned yacht Wahoo was not insured and sank, the port would be liable, said the council’s integrated catchment manager Dr Murry Cave.

He said the Wahoo would need a lot of work before it could leave the port.

There had been a meeting the previous day with Customs New Zealand, Maritime New Zealand and MPI biodiversity.

There were some gaps in the way the vessel was treated since it arrived in New Zealand over a year ago. It was not a short-term visitor.

The situation was that the yacht was now detained by Maritime New Zealand.

It had been found to be infested with fanworm and other pest organisms. It was taken out of the water as quickly as possible.

The vessel had no operational motor.

It was using a small outboard from the dinghy lashed to the ladder at the back for power.

There was only limited food and water on board for a six week voyage. The general condition of the equipment on board was not up to scratch for even a coastal voyage let alone a trip through some rather difficult waters.

The quick action taken meant the risk to the port was reduced significantly.

There would be a discussion with the owner of the vessel about what needed to be done before it could leave.

Committee chairwoman Pat Seymour asked what happened to the fanworm after they were raked off the hull.

Dr Cave said it was scraped into containers and then sealed with plastic bags. Some material was being sent to NIWA for identification.

The vessel had been in a marina in Auckland. There were other species on the hull which could have come into the country when the vessel arrived from the Pacific in 2017.

The next step was that the hull had to be water blasted and lifted with a crane so that other material could be removed.

The owner was liable for costs under the Biosecurity Act, as well as other costs.

■ The Wahoo was the centre of an incident off the coast of Tolaga Bay earlier this month when one of the German twin brothers sailing the boat fell overboard. He was rescued and brought to Gisborne along with his brother. The boat was towed to Gisborne, where it was found to be infested with fanworm.

GDC has worked jointly with the Ministry of Primary Industries to fund an eradication programme for fanworm in Gisborne Port, spending nearly $100,000 on the exercise. Its fast growth rate and prolific breeding habits make it likely to out-compete other species and interfere with biological processes.

EASTLAND Port does not want a yacht that was infested with fanworm put back into the water until the issue of insurance is cleared up, the District Council’s environmental planning and regulations committee was told.

If the Brazilian-owned yacht Wahoo was not insured and sank, the port would be liable, said the council’s integrated catchment manager Dr Murry Cave.

He said the Wahoo would need a lot of work before it could leave the port.

There had been a meeting the previous day with Customs New Zealand, Maritime New Zealand and MPI biodiversity.

There were some gaps in the way the vessel was treated since it arrived in New Zealand over a year ago. It was not a short-term visitor.

The situation was that the yacht was now detained by Maritime New Zealand.

It had been found to be infested with fanworm and other pest organisms. It was taken out of the water as quickly as possible.

The vessel had no operational motor.

It was using a small outboard from the dinghy lashed to the ladder at the back for power.

There was only limited food and water on board for a six week voyage. The general condition of the equipment on board was not up to scratch for even a coastal voyage let alone a trip through some rather difficult waters.

The quick action taken meant the risk to the port was reduced significantly.

There would be a discussion with the owner of the vessel about what needed to be done before it could leave.

Committee chairwoman Pat Seymour asked what happened to the fanworm after they were raked off the hull.

Dr Cave said it was scraped into containers and then sealed with plastic bags. Some material was being sent to NIWA for identification.

The vessel had been in a marina in Auckland. There were other species on the hull which could have come into the country when the vessel arrived from the Pacific in 2017.

The next step was that the hull had to be water blasted and lifted with a crane so that other material could be removed.

The owner was liable for costs under the Biosecurity Act, as well as other costs.

■ The Wahoo was the centre of an incident off the coast of Tolaga Bay earlier this month when one of the German twin brothers sailing the boat fell overboard. He was rescued and brought to Gisborne along with his brother. The boat was towed to Gisborne, where it was found to be infested with fanworm.

GDC has worked jointly with the Ministry of Primary Industries to fund an eradication programme for fanworm in Gisborne Port, spending nearly $100,000 on the exercise. Its fast growth rate and prolific breeding habits make it likely to out-compete other species and interfere with biological processes.

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