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Tuesday, February 19 2019 @ 05:22 PM UTC

Surveyors to inspect fire damaged ship in Gisborne

Panama Flagged VesselsMarine surveyors were to inspect a crippled log ship in the port of Gisborne today after a fire raced through the bridge and caused serious damage on Tuesday night. The 170 metre, 28,000 tonne cargo ship, Lake Arafura, registered in Panama, had loaded about 10,000 tonnes of logs when a suspected electrical fault caused the fire. The crew and Gisborne firefighters brought the fire under control but part of the bridge was believed to have been seriously damaged by fire, smoke and water. Eastland Group, which runs the port, said the ship could not be repaired in Gisborne and the assessment today would determine if it could sail under its own power to another port for repairs, possibly Tauranga.

Eastland Group general manager logistics, Andrew Gaddum, said the ship had been moved to another berth to allow work at the port to continue but they wanted the ship gone as soon as possible because the port was exposed to changes in sea conditions and weather and there were not the idle berths available to have a ship alongside when it was not operational. "There is a potential we would have to move the vessel out of port under a tug bow if we had to for the safety of the port basically." He said the ship could possibly move under its own power in an emergency. He said the port did not want to have a disabled ship sitting alongside if it could not move because of the fire damage or because the bridge "was in a thousands pieces while they try and fix it." He said the ship's crew acted very quickly and brought the fire under control, restricting damage to one corner of the bridge. "When you have gone in there and fought a fire with water and smoke and all the rest of it, it is assessing what is actually working and what is not." He said it was a blessing the fire did not happen at sea. The ship was due to head for China after loading in Gisborne. (

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