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A new locally-built workboat has joined the Northland Regional Council’s maritime fleet after a blessing and naming ceremony in Opua today.
Jim Lyle, the council’s Opua-based Regional Harbourmaster, says the newly-named 5.8-metre ‘Karetu’ replaces the aging ‘Gemini’, which has served the region for the past 25 years and which is being auctioned.
Mr Lyle says the construction, naming and blessing of the new $100,000 catamaran-style aluminium vessel have all been a Bay of Islands-based affair.
The boat – named after the nearby Karetu area – was blessed today at a ceremony attended by local hapu Ngati Manu, who also played a role in choosing its name, and the principal and children from Karetu School.
The boat was built over several months by Opua’s Northland Spars and Rigging 2009 Ltd (which won the tender against a number of national and international competitors), the trailer was hand-built by Opua Engineering and its twin outboard engines were sourced from the Bay of Islands Marine Centre.
Mr Lyle says the ‘Karetu’ will be based at Opua and used by maritime staff to patrol Northland’s coastline, aid navigation maintenance, provide Navigation Safety Bylaw advice, and transport for the council’s coastal and water quality teams.
It joins the council’s two other workboats including the 16-metre pilot boat, ‘Waikare’, all of which are also on call for oil spill response and recovery and are used right around Northland on both the east and west coasts.
“These boats are out on the water most days at this time of year, whether that’s for patrols, water quality monitoring work carried out by our staff, or to service buoys and beacons.”
Mr Lyle says at roughly 3200km, Northland’s coastline is among the longest of any region in New Zealand and reliable boats are crucial to the council’s work given the high volume of vessels – both recreational and commercial – seen here.
Mr Lyle says some final survey work was done on the ‘Karetu’ yesterday and the maritime team expects to put it to work in earnest in the next few days.
The ‘Gemini’ (the vessel it replaces) is being auctioned via TradeMe.