Mike Antrobus. Photo by Alan Gibson
A Tauranga man has been left baffled and angry at the
"bizarre" theft of his commercial fishing boat - a crime which
could cost him tens of thousands of dollars.
Although the Rena oil spill stopped Mike Antrobus fishing for
several months last year, damage from the disaster couldn't
compare to the disappearance of his 10.4m gill-netting vessel
Star Trek from its moorings in Mt Maunganui's Pilot Bay this
He had been in the process of gaining a safe ship management
certificate and insuring the boat. Its loss could cost him as
much as $65,000.
One of a handful of private commercial fishermen operating
from Tauranga, Mr Antrobus has worked the locally well-known
vessel for almost a decade.
He bought it two years ago and was still paying it off when a
local noticed it gone early on Tuesday morning.
Tauranga police have since received a report of the
Carey-style, turquoise-coloured vessel leaving Tauranga
Harbour the following day.
While his vessel and many others in the bay have been
targeted by thieves, he knew of none that had been taken.
"And certainly not a commercial boat. You just don't steal
them. I've talked to quite a few of the boat owners here and
they're all saying it's quite a concern."
Whoever took the boat would probably have gained entry by
smashing a window - and would have had the boating knowledge
to operate it. The Star Trek had enough fuel to go about 500
nautical miles, and Mr Antrobus has notified fishing
companies and marinas across the coast.
There are about 3500 inshore commercial fishing vessels
nationwide, meaning they are at less risk of being stolen.
"They're relatively distinctive and hard to conceal - it's
not as though they're like your Toyotas and Holdens that
blend in," said Senior Sergeant Martin Paget of the police
Smaller craft were most commonly targeted and some larger
boats such as launches and yachts been taken for sale in
other countries, but commercial boats were seldom among them,
In other cases vessels were simply stripped of electronic
"It might have been taken because there was something of
value on there someone wanted, but until we find it, I could
speculate as much as anyone else could."
- Jamie Morton, New Zealand Herald