PacTow Salvage Saves APEC Haus

By: PNG Business News September 29, 2021

Photo: The abandoned ‘Hawea’, an ex New Zealand navy patrol boat, was salvaged by Pacific Towing just in time before it could break up and cause significant damage to APEC Haus at Port Moresby’s Ela Beach.

Pacific Towing (PacTow) saved APEC Haus from likely and significant damage after it salvaged an abandoned vessel that had run aground within metres of the landmark building.  The salvage of the ex New Zealand navy patrol boat ‘Hawea’ occurred last Thursday evening during strong winds and a rising tide.  The PacTow salvage team expertly manoeuvred the leaking vessel off the rocks it was lodged on, then towed it back to its dedicated tug base at Motukea. 

After receiving notification of the marine casualty from the National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA) and PNG Ports Corporation, PacTow rapidly despatched its tug ‘Wato’ and lifeboat ‘Buru’. Twelve crew and five members of PacTow’s commercial dive team were directly involved in the salvage; with additional support provided by senior managers and operational personnel located at the company’s headquarters. 

Upon arrival at Ela Beach at 7.00pm it was evident to the PacTow team that given the high waves and shallow water, the vessel was in imminent risk of breaking up.  The divers quickly assessed the integrity of the Hawea’s hull and bollards for towing.  The vessel was then towed by its stern to dislodge it from the rocks and then by its bow once it was in safer waters.  The Wato and her crew proceeded to tow the vessel back to PacTow’s tug base at Motukea, where she was securely moored shortly before 10.00 pm.

The following day, when daylight permitted a thorough inspection of the vessel by PacTow marine engineers, it was discovered that the aging vessel was in exceptionally poor condition with several leaks.  PacTow reports that the vessel’s intake of water is currently mitigated by around-the-clock mechanical pumping.  

It is understood that the National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA) is in the process of trying to track down the vessel’s owners.  PacTow plans on disposing of the vessel if the owners can’t be located and the relevant authorities provide them with instruction to do so.

PacTow has performed well over 50 salvages in the region and is Melanesia’s leading marine salvage and emergency response company.  General Manager Neil Papenfus described the most recent salvage as one of “patriotic duty given the significance of APEC Haus to our country.”

To learn more about Pacific Towing and its salvage capabilities, as well as its commitment to serving PNG and its communities:

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