Hard work, a collaborative effort and a bit of good fortune all combined to get Port Taranaki’s reserve pilot launch, the Westgate, to an in-need Napier Port recently.
Napier Port asked to hire Westgate while its own launch needed urgent maintenance. Port Taranaki obliged, but the dilemma was how to get an 18m launch across the country quickly.
“Various road transport options were explored and a specialist boat haulage company agreed they could achieve it but were not available for another two weeks,” says Port Taranaki marine engineering supervisor Grant Squire.
Enter Coastal Bulk Shipping and their small bulk vessel the Anatoki.
“It just happened that the Anatoki was waiting in Wanganui to sail for Napier where she was due to pick up her next cargo. This gave us little more than 48 hours to prepare the vessel, finalise the contract, build a suitable cradle to fit in the Anatoki's hold and arrange the lift of the launch into the ship,” says Grant.
The extensive knowledge and expertise of Port Taranaki’s staff across departments then combined to make the job a reality and it was completed quickly and safely.
“While Port Taranaki carpenters built the cradle, engineers, electricians and launch masters stripped the mast, radar and all gear above the cabin top. Mechanics did some final maintenance PMs and wharf services manager Kim Daine organised the LM400 container crane to move from the breakwater across to Blyde for the one lift,” says Grant.
The Anatoki arrived and, starting at 6am on the Sunday, the crane was moved, the cradle assembled, and the launch lifted into its new cradle and into the Anatoki. By 11am the load was secured and the crane was on its way back to the breakwater. The Anatoki left for Napier with Westgate securely aboard.
“It was a very successful and safely executed lift. I would like to thank everyone who helped bring this together and was a great example of Port Taranaki team work,” says Grant.
Westgate is now in Napier and is in service for the next few weeks. While in Napier, John Taipari, a Port Taranaki launch master, is overseeing the vessel and training the Napier crew in Westgate’s operation.