Environmental groups face a nervous wait to find out how much
damage will occur after a boating mishap off the southern
coast of the South Island.
It could be tomorrow before it is known how much diesel fuel
spilled off Stewart Island when the fishing boat struck rocks
late Friday, the manager of the company leasing the boat
It was initially reported that a fuel tank carrying 23,000
litres of diesel ruptured when the 58m Sureste 700 grounded.
But Environment Southland spokeswoman Michele Poole said
yesterday clean-up teams had been put on standby but no
diesel could be seen from the air, or during checks of the
shoreline and surrounding water.
"It may have dispersed in the very heavy conditions."
Conditions were rough with strong offshore winds when the
The boat, carrying 38 crew and a Ministry of Primary
Industries observer, struck rocks while sheltering off an
area known as The Neck in Paterson Inlet.
The site is close to the Ulva Island bird sanctuary.
No-one was injured and the skipper was able to re-float the
boat and steer it to safety.
Sureste 700 is based in Timaru and has been chartered by
South East Resources.
The company's manager, Jason Williamson, said the tank was
full before the crash, but the skipper was not able to tell
how much diesel had been lost.
"I believe the tank is now a mixture of water and diesel."
A diver would inspect the damage tomorrow.
The boat was stable and had been given approval from Maritime
New Zealand to make its way to Lyttelton for repairs.
That journey was expected to take about 10 days, he said.
- Herald on Sunday