A container ship nearly crashed into Mount Maunganui wharf and two vessels after its engine failed when leaving port.
The Kota Lukis lost power as it was leaving the Port of Tauranga at Sulphur Point on Wednesday - forcing men to flee from two vessels moored at the wharf.
The Bay of Plenty Times has learned the ship nearly crashed into the Rena salvage tug Resolve Commander and the fishing vessel Adelaide Pearl. The paper has also obtained video footage.
Tug boats had released the ship during its departure but had to return after the engine failure.
This, combined with the ship dropping anchor, brought it under control.
A man at the wharf at the time, who spoke on condition he was not named, said the ship came within 20m of the wharf.
"Everyone was thinking 'this is going to turn, this is going to turn', but it kept going. Next thing, everyone's off the fishing boat and barge and galloping towards the shore," he said.
"All the crew that were in the fishing boat and the Resolve crew, they just legged it for shore. It was like rats leaving a ship."
Resolve Marine Group salvager Scott Lloyd-Jones said if it had not been for the Kota Lukis dropping anchor, it would have continued and caused major damage.
"It would have gone through any vessel in its way and the port itself," he told the Bay of Plenty Times.
Mr Lloyd-Jones was one of about 14 crew on the barge and said the tugs did an amazing job at trying to redirect the moving ship.
"The one on the starboard side came in and nudged it, gave it a lot of throttle. There was a lot of white water coming up from it but I think the anchor deployed from the ship made the difference," Mr Lloyd-Jones said.
"It was close enough to be uncomfortable. It was quite dramatic."
Mr Lloyd-Jones said the ship came in on an angle to within 40m of the barge.
The Resolve crew evacuated the barge and loosened its moorings so it could be quickly moved if needed.
In response to questions, Port of Tauranga said in a statement the ship lost power about 10 minutes into its departure.
The port alerted the Resolve barge and a fishing boat, recommending evacuation.
"The tugs returned to the vessel and through a combination of tug and anchor use the vessel was quickly brought under control. The main engine was restored and the vessel proceeded out. As a precaution, the tugs escorted the vessel out of the harbour."
Type: Container ship
Length x Breadth: 260m X 32m
Gross Tonnage: 39,906;