Container ship remains berthed

A container ship banned from Australian ports for three months remains berthed at the Port of Tauranga despite being given the all clear.

A Maritime New Zealand inspection found 14 deficiencies during a five-hour inspection of the Vega Auriga when it arrived on Sunday. Of those, 11 had to be fixed before it was allowed to leave port.

The ship was given the all clear to leave yesterday after a second inspection determined the problems had been fixed, but was now not scheduled to leave until 2pm tomorrow.

A spokesman for Vega Reederei, the German-based owner of the Vega Auriga, said he felt the issues had been blown out of proportion.

Vessels should only be detained if there was a risk to lives and safety, or to the environment, he said.

"We appreciate the work of the port state and that they raise defects on ship is the normal procedure and this is how the system runs, but what Australia port state has done with us is overreaction, but we have to live with it."

All the issues raised in Australia were dealt with before the ship set sail for New Zealand, he said.

The Mediterranean Shipping Company this week told the Bay of Plenty Times it "off-hired" the ship after the cargo was unloaded in Tauranga as it could no longer serve the purpose it was hired for -- namely travelling to and from Australia.

By Amy McGillivray of the Bay of Plenty Times

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