Divers will inspect the rudder and propeller of a stricken ship anchored off Tauranga today, weather permitting.

Two investigations have been launched after the log carrier's engine failed at the entrance to Port of Tauranga about 12.30am yesterday.

The Singaporean-registered vessel, Funing-9690913, was bound for China when it lost power.

Unable to steer, it was pushed by wind and tides to the edge of the channel at the base of Mauao and snagged a marker buoy.


About 20 crew members were on board but there were no reported injuries.

Shipping operations at the port were suspended and the Mauao base track was closed as a precaution while the ship was urgently towed away to a safe anchorage in deep water outside Tauranga Harbour, aided by tug boats.

The Funing will not return to port until authorities give permission.

The ship's hull is understood to be intact and there was no pollution.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission and Maritime New Zealand are investigating the incident.

The commission's investigation will focus on the causes and circumstances of the incident and the Maritime NZ investigation will focus on whether the rules were followed correctly.

Maritime New Zealand's deputy director of safety response systems, Nigel Clifford, said an inspection dive could not be done yesterday due to the weather and sea conditions, but it was hoped this would happen today.

"If the vessel is safe to sail without repairs it will be able to continue its planned voyage to China.


"If the vessel requires repairs a repair plan will be established by the owners. Authorities would overview any such proposals."

Mauao walkers could see the ship anchored at sunrise. Photo / Trent Sunderland
Mauao walkers could see the ship anchored at sunrise. Photo / Trent Sunderland

It was not possible to say how long the vessel could be in Tauranga.

Commission spokesman Simon Pleasants said a team of three investigators had arrived in Tauranga from Wellington.

A Port of Tauranga spokeswoman said the incident delayed the arrival of one container ship and one log ship, but there were no long-term impacts on port operations.

"We frequently deal with shipping delays and changes due to weather and other operational reasons."

She said the marine teams did "an amazing job in keeping the stricken vessel steady and then towing it to safety".


"The wind and swell was challenging for all vessels involved but the conditions eased throughout the morning," she said.

There was a 30-knot wind and significant swell when the engine failed.

High tide was at 7.40am.

The Mauao Base Track was closed as a precaution on request from the Harbourmaster but was reopened by midday.

UPDATE 11:55am: the base track is now open. Thank you for your cooperation while this was resolved....

Posted by Tauranga City Council on Sunday, 5 July 2020