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Published: 2016-05-12 00:00:00

Update as at 8.00am
Waikato Regional Council is assisting the skipper of a 20-metre fishing boat that’s run aground 30 kilometres off Whitianga on the southern end of Red Mercury Island.

The vessel, which is carrying about 9,000 litres of diesel, appears intact and there is no sign of fuel having spilled into the sea at this stage.

The council formally declared a tier 2 regional marine oil spill response to help it manage the situation as efforts are made to refloat the boat and to deal with any fuel that might leak. An incident control centre has been activated in Hamilton.

Regional on-scene commander Dave Lovatt, from the council’s regional hazards team, said the crew is safe and the sea and weather conditions generally favourable.

The skipper of the boat has deployed a support vessel from Tauranga to attempt to re-float the grounded vessel at high tide around 11am this morning.

In the meantime, regional marine oil spill responders and equipment have been deployed from the council’s Gordonton depot, and a harbourmaster is inspecting the vessel this morning to help inform forward planning and response options.

“We are hopeful of a quick and safe resolution to this situation but we are on standby and prepared to help if problems develop and any fuel leaks into the sea,” said Mr Lovatt.

“We are moving equipment and staff into the area and will respond as required.”