A tugboat is en route to a Singaporean cargo vessel off the Farewell Spit coast at the top of the South Island that sent out a mayday call.
Maritime New Zealand mentioned that its coordination centre dedicated to rescue activities was responding to the call from the Shiling, which was made at 11 am today.
The same vessel reportedly broke down in Wellington Harbour a month back.
Since the Mayday call, conditions on the scene have improved. The vessel master has also stated that he is comfortable staying on the vessel, the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (better known as the RCCNZ) mentioned in its statement.
The vessel that had just set sail from Wellington initially requested help slightly before 8.30 am.
From Taranaki, an ocean-going tug has been dispatched to tow the vessel to a safe location and is also expected to reach by 4 pm today.
An Air Force C-130 Hercules is circling the vessel, and an Air Force helicopter is on standby if required. There are 24 crew members on board.
Michael Clulow, the RCCNZ operations manager, mentioned that this is a fluid scenario and that the RCCNZ has consistently been coordinating the response and collaborating with multiple partner agencies.
Rescue helicopters have been relocated from Christchurch and Auckland, and rescue helicopters from New Plymouth, and Nelson are also on standby.
A Coastguard vessel out of Nelson, the vessel of Nelson Harbourmaster, and the Police’s Marine vessel based out of Wellington have reportedly been prepositioned to respond if the situation deteriorates.
The NZDF has been spreading overhead awareness and on-scene coordination in case a rescue mission is required.
Owing to its location — 22 nm north north-west of Farewell Spit — there’s no risk of it running aground.
On 15 April, the vessel broke down at Wellington Harbour and was assessed by Maritime New Zealand.
The Shiling had set sail to Napier when it lost power and gradually drifted outside the shipping channel.
Two tugboats went to the vessel’s aid, and the engineers on board successfully restored some power so that it could return to the wharf at the Aotea Quay for repairs and further assessments.
References: RNZ, NewsHub