Coastguard thankful for skipper’s rescue off stranded vessel

Coastguard is delighted that the skipper of the stranded vessel that drifted from Great Barrier Island on Sunday night has been rescued by Navy frigate HMNZS Te Mana, alongside the Northland Emergency Services Trust Helicopter and Police.

Yesterday morning, seven highly experienced Coastguard Auckland volunteers aboard Lion Foundation Rescue were tasked on this rescue operation alongside Westpac Rescue and USAR. Volunteers were faced with winds exceeding 80knots and high seas as they proceeded north towards Tiritiri Matangi Island, and were forced by conditions to shelter in Gulf Harbour before being stood down later in the day. Alongside Coastguard Auckland, volunteers from Coastguard Great Barrier also responded to support the stranded vessel and we thank them for their commitment to Coastguard – considering the serious impact the Cyclone has had on the island.

“We were all delighted to hear the news this morning that HMNZS Te Mana had not only made contact with the vessel, but was able to safely rescue the sole occupant on board,” Coastguard Auckland skipper Simon Marshall said.

“This rescue mission was launched in the most extreme weather conditions I have ever experienced in my 16 years of Coastguard experience. The conditions pushed the crew and the vessel to its limits, but I was thankful that Lion Foundation Rescue vessel is as such a well-founded vessel and was crewed by such an experienced team.  All crew onboard had an excellent understanding of Coastguard's extensive training and risk management processes, we all knew that our number one priority was ensuring the safety of our crew and our vessel above all else.”

Coastguard also acknowledges the unsung heroes in our Operations Centre for their tireless work supporting Police and other emergency services on this rescue operation – in addition to the numerous calls coming in around the clock around Cyclone Gabrielle’s impact.

“We can’t commend our volunteers from Auckland, Great Barrier and our Operations Centre team enough for their bravery and commitment to saving lives at sea – especially given the impact of the Cyclone on people’s families, homes and businesses. Following numerous missions by Coastguard volunteers over the past 72 hours, this is another fantastic example of their outstanding courage in the face of adversity,” Coastguard Head of Operations Rob McCaw said.

“From one volunteer organisation to another, we also send our aroha to the family and friends of the firefighters involved in the landslide at Muriwai overnight and acknowledge the difficult conditions all emergency services across the North Island are facing at the moment.”

For more information, contact:  
Ben Parsons  
Coastguard New Zealand Senior Communications Advisor  
[email protected] 

Thanks to our life-saving partners:
  • Auckland Council
  • Northland Regional Council
  • Waikato Regional Council
  • Hutchwilco
  • Marine Deals
  • Tower
  • Kordia
  • Hyundai
  • Line7
  • Century Batteries
  • Half Moon Bay
  • NZCT
  • Lotteries Grants Board
  • Lion Foundation
  • Pub Charity