July 15, 2008

Council Demands Container Hunt


THREE containers washed overboard on Saturday will be removed from near the entrance to Port Taranaki before they become a hazard to shipping or the environment.

The Taranaki Regional Council yesterday issued an abatement notice to shipping agent ISS-McKay, demanding the containers be located and removed.

The empty containers broke free and fell off the carrier Maersk Fuji as it approached the port in heavy seas. One sank and was marked with a buoy but it is not known what happened to the other two.

TRC director of resource management Fred McLay said the abatement notice was issued because the containers were a hazard.

"Some of them may be in the Sugar Loaf Islands marine protected area, where they could become an environmental hazard.

"Or they may get caught up in the littoral drift along our shore and be dragged into the shipping approach lanes," he said.

"So our opinion is they need to be located and removed."

A spokesman for the agent said Northern Hemisphere insurance companies were to be contacted overnight regarding the liability for the task and work on the containers' removal would begin as soon as possible.

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