Funing leaves Tauranga for Singapore
The MV Funing departed Tauranga on the weekend, bound for Singapore.
The bulker is under tow by the Skandi Emerald, and left Tauranga at 10am on Sunday morning.
On July 6, the 40,000 DWT bulk carrier was departing New Zealand bound for China with a load of timber when it lost engine power at approximately 12.30am while in the main shipping channel.
There was a pilot aboard at the time but Maritime New Zealand reported that the weather conditions were considered poor with a 30 knot wind and significant swell.
After losing power the Funing was unable to steer and began drifting due to the high winds and tides in the area.
The vessel snagged the chains holding one of the buoys marking the shipping channel.
The tides and currents then pushed the Funing across the channel before the ship was able to anchor and hold position. For a time it threatened navigation to New Zealand’s largest port.
At the time of the incident, there were 20 crew members aboard. None of the crew was injured and Maritime New Zealand said that there were no reports of oil or other pollution from the vessel.
Two Port of Tauranga tugs were dispatched to the vessel’s assistance and they were later able to tow the Funing to deeper water and a safe anchorage.
An inspection of the propeller and rudder was conducted by divers because it was believed that the vessel had made contact with a marker buoy at the harbour entrance.
After having remained at anchorage for the following week, the offshore tug Pacific Runner arrived in Tauranga to assist the Funing.
They completed a towage trial on July 14 and later in the day towed the vessel to the dock in Tauranga.
The Transport Accident Investigation Commission appointed a team of three investigators to gather evidence relating to factors such as what people involved with thinking and doing; the ship itself, including its maintenance and design; the ship operator’s policies and procedures; and what was going on with the weather and sea conditions. Maritime New Zealand said the investigation could take up to 14 days.
Once repairs and investigations were completed the Funing would be able to continue its voyage to China.
FUNING (IMO: 9690913) is a Bulk Carrier that was built in 2015 and is sailing under the flag of Singapore. Its carrying capacity is 39784 t DWT and her current draught is reported to be 6.7 meters. Her length overall is 179.99 meters and her width is 30 meters.
Funing leaving port on Sunday. Photo: Port of Tauranga web cam.
During the investigation and repairs all 20 crew remained on board.
Maritime NZ has filed one charge each against the master and chief engineer of the log carrier Funing. Maritime NZ alleged breaches of section 65 of the Maritime Transport Act, which prohibits “dangerous activity involving ships or maritime products”.
Maritime NZ’s investigation is continuing and no decision has yet been made about further charges or other action against other parties, says a Maritime NZ spokesperson.
The Transport Accident Investigation Commission is also investigating the grounding.
The accused made their first appearance in Tauranga Court on Thursday, August 27.
The tow vessel Skandi Emerald arrived in port and the MV Funing departed Tauranga at 10am on Sunday, under tow by the Skandi Emerald, and bound for Singapore.
The case is due back in court on September 10 at 10am for pleas to be entered, however, these times/dates may change.
Maritime NZ has no further comment while the matter is before the court.