In April, Maersk Batur, a 43,273-ton container vessel, lost power after it had just departed Port Chalmers. Immediately, two tugs, Rangi and Otago, were dispatched to assist the vessel by towing it back into deeper water.
The Maersk Batur near miss was reported to Maritime New Zealand (MNZ), Otago's harbour master and the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) but it wasn't announced because MNZ has suspended publishing of summaries since February (considering privacy issues). The incident came to light when it was reported by Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee during parliamentary question time. The report for Maersk Batur says it had a possible contact with sand at Otago Harbour's channel end.
Stuart Jennings, operations manager with Maersk NZ, commented:
'There were safety protocols of the port and ship in place which were enacted ... It was concluded there was no danger.''
Geoff Plunket, chief executive of Port Otago, confirmed that reports had been given to MNZ, Otago's harbour master, the TAIC and the Otago Regional Council. The investigation conducted by the port authorities found no issues, but Plunket gave no further details.
According to the MNZ report, the vessel suffered a short power failure resulting in turning its bow towards the edge of the channel. They said:
''The master of the ship reported possible contact of [the] ship's bow with [the] soft sand edge of the channel.''
It was reported that the cause of the incident was a fuel flow meter issue.
Maersk Batur (IMO number 9402029 and MMSI 564398000) was built in 2009. The 223-meter vessel is registered in Singapore.