A Far North oyster farmer still wants sightings of a barge stolen from in front of his home at Te Hapua (Last seen heading south, Northland Age August 30), and has no intention of giving up.

Roy Langford said the Coastal Explorer barge (named Facilitator II) was seen leaving Parengarenga Harbour on August 19. Later that day it was seen with two men on board passing Henderson Bay. A few weeks later it was seen in the Kerikeri Inlet by a Fisheries officer on the police launch Deodar, but no one on board realised it was stolen.

Mr Langford said the most recent, but unconfirmed, sighting was at Kerikeri's Opito Bay, where a barge matching its description was seen leaving the bay early one morning last week. Someone else had reported seeing it on the back of a truck in the Dome Valley, near Warkworth but Mr Langford believed it was still in Northland. He suspected it was most likely to be in the Bay of Islands, although the Whangarei area was another possibility. The two men seen on board as it was leaving Parengarenga lived in Whangarei, he said.

Mr Langford, who owns Rameka Bay Oysters, wasn't home when the 9m $100,000 barge, with a 140hp Mercury outboard motor, was taken from its mooring in a metre of water. He had used it to build his oyster farm but more recently as a pleasure boat.


He had gone to great lengths to track it down, contacting boating clubs, haulage firms and coastal residents. Kaitaia Aero Club had helped him carry out an aerial search of the coast from Houhora to Whangaroa.

He urged anyone who saw the barge to contact the Kaitaia police on 408-6500 with the file number 120823/6816. Anonymous tips can also be passed to Crimestoppers on 0800 555-111.