New council workboat blessed

30 Apr 2024, 1:56 PM

The Northland Regional Council’s new $3.2 million Northland-built workboat has been blessed and officially named at Ōpua today, Tuesday 30 April.

The 17.5-metre catamaran Waikare II – built at Whangarei by Circa Marine – replaces the 16-metre, 20-year-old Waikare, which was also built by Circa.

Council Chair Geoff Crawford says the new vessel – built over about 12 months – is critical for maritime operations around Northland.

“It will be used to maintain Aids to Navigation around the East and West coasts, as a pilot vessel in the Bay of Islands (where 90 cruise ships are expected to visit this season) and as an oil spill response vessel.”

Chair Crawford says the Waikare II (and its predecessor) was gifted its name by Te Kapotai who blessed it at today’s ceremony.

Tui Shortland and Jim Lyle standing in front of the vessel Waikare II.Northland Regional Council Deputy Chair Tui Shortland and Regional Harbourmaster Jim Lyle with the newly blessed and named Waikare II at Ōpua today.

He says it will be used frequently to carry out salvage and dive operations and is an asset ratepayers can be proud of.

“Circa have delivered the vessel on time and on budget, in very trying financial times. Council is extremely satisfied and pleased with the build quality, layout and finish.”

Regional Harbourmaster Jim Lyle says the vessel – which will typically carry a crew of two or three – officially started work in March.

He says its predecessor will be sold once the cruise ship season finishes in April.

The new vessel, which has its own crane, has a top speed of 20 knots, and a cruise speed of 16 knots and is powered by two fuel-efficient diesel engines compliant with the latest international emission standards.

“Council was keen on electric power options but given the size of the vessel and its required range this wasn’t an option. So a lot of time was spent optimising the hull form for fuel efficiency.”

The vessel is expected to work from Mangawhai in the south to North Cape and back down to the Kaipara and as far out as 12 nautical miles.

Children and others on board the Waikare II.Youngsters from te Kura o Waikare played a key role – leading waiata – at today’s blessing of the new Northland Regional Council workboat Waikare II.

Mr Lyle says the new vessel has a smaller wheelhouse with improved access around the sides.

“It’s increased waterline length, and moving the wheelhouse forward, provide a much-increased working deck.”

He says the vessel has improved buoyancy in its upper hulls to prevent slamming in heavy seas.

“It has also been wrapped in a special environmentally-friendly silicon wrap antifoul which will save on haul outs, annual antifoul and loss of performance due to fouling.

The wrap self-cleans each time the vessel reaches sea speed.

Vessel Waikare II.

The newly blessed and named Northland Regional Council workboat Waikare II at Ōpua.