Winds gusting across the Port of Tauranga Sulphur Point container terminal last night snapped mooring lines on the container ship Carsten Maersk, which was alongside the wharf.
The winds gusting at more than 110km/h blew the aft end of the fully laden container ship out into the sitting basin, where Port of Tauranga tugs were able to push it back to the wharf.
“Several of the multiple ropes tying it to the wharf broke during the peak of the storm,” says Port of Tauranga corporate services manager Sara Lunam.
“Our three tug boats were on standby and ensured the vessel remained in place as our operations staff reattached the lines.
“There was no damage to the wharves or ship. As per protocol, the Tauranga Harbourmaster and Maritime New Zealand were informed, and the ship is being checked as a safety precaution before it sails.
"The Port has strict rules around the safe operation of our container straddles and cranes in severe weather,: says Sara.
As a result, cargo handling at the Tauranga Container Terminal was suspended during the night due to the strong wind gusts.
Similar safety rules apply to ships making the turn round the Tanea Shelf into the harbour entrance. The Carsten Mearsk was originally expected to sail at 10am today, but the departure for Kaohsiung is now set down for 6pm.
The container ship is 346.98m long, nearly 43m wide and weighs 110,387 tonnes and needs 10.8 metres of water in which to float.
Mooring lines for ships the size of the Carsten Maersk are braided nylon hawsers about 20-30cm in diameter.