Crew from HMNZS ROTOITI in one of the ships rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) collects the used lifeboat. ROTOITI in the background (MC10-0187-001)
15 June 2010
The Naval Inshore Patrol Vessel HMNZS ROTOITI responded to a MAYDAY call this morning; a tug was on fire north of Cape Rodney.
ROTOITI was at anchor in the Hauraki Gulf conducting a Naval training exercise when the Rescue Coordination Centre requested assistance to the MAYDAY call.
Arriving at the reported site at 6:00am, the fire crew of ROTOITI conducted an external survey with hand-held and on-board thermal imaging equipment. The fire was out but still smouldering. They found significant blistering and residue hot spots on the port funnel.
The five crew of the tug had evacuated to a life raft and life boat and were uplifted by the Coastguard who also attended the MAYDAY call.
With information gathered from the external survey, the Commanding Officer of ROTOITI, Lieutenant Andrew Hogg, sent in a fire crew with full breathing apparatus and fire fighting equipment to extinguish the smouldering fire and cool the hotspots. Once it was confirmed that the fire was out, an overhaul of the compartments was carried out to ensure the fire didn’t reignite.
The Commanding Officer of ROTOITI, Lieutenant Andrew Hogg said “The crew reacted immediately with a willingness to help those in distress. They were very professional in their fire fighting re-entry to the engine room of the tug, which is especially commendable considering it was an unknown compartment and was the scene of a real fire. Very pleasing result.”
Also responding to the MAYDAY were CIRCA RESCUE and KAWAU RESCUE along with the WESTPAC helicopter. HMNZS MANAWANUI was anchored at Kawau Island ready to offer assistance if required.
It is believed the fire was started by an electrical fault over the port engine.
New Zealanders are great users of the ocean for recreation. The Navy has ships standing by to undertake search and rescue operations when needed.
For further information please contact Lieutenant Sarah Campbell, Senior Media Adviser - Navy 021 2440638