Seaworks offers all the benefits of industry experience, proven expertise and the largest fleet of vessels and remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs) in New Zealand. We also have reach: our emergency response agreements with Maritime New Zealand and international salvors enable us to provide immediate responses to onshore and coastal salvage operations in New Zealand and the South Pacific.
Our experience in salvage operations goes back to 1986, when we were engaged to salvage oil from the tanks of the Soviet cruise liner Mikhail Lermontov, which lay wrecked in New Zealand’s Marlborough Sounds.
Since then we’ve responded to a wide range of marine salvage events in New Zealand and the Pacific. In 2011 there was the high-profile grounding of the 236-metre MV Rena off the coast of Tauranga, and the subsequent recovery of 1,300 tonnes of heavy fuel oil. We provided ROV and vessel support to the international salvors responsible for the Rena response, as well as services such as container and debris survey and recovery operations, personnel transfers and general vessel salvage and support. The Rena grounding is well known as New Zealand’s worst-ever maritime environmental disaster. Seaworks also responded to the loss of a propeller from the Interisland ferry Aratere in 2013. We were engaged to locate and recover the propeller after it was lost during a Cook Strait crossing. We located it using a multibeam echo sounder (MBES), then deployed our work-class ROV to attach rigging to lift it to a recovery vessel. In 2017 we responded to the grounding of the 184-metre Kea Trader on Récif Durand near New Caledonia, for which we provided vessel support and accommodation as part of an international operation. The salvage project proved to be one of the most technically challenging operations in recent times owing to the delicate marine environment and hazardous sea conditions surrounding the ship.
On 5 October 2011, the Seaworks team was the first on the scene to respond to what would later be labelled New Zealand’s largest and costliest shipwreck and worst maritime environmental disaster.