Taio Shipping director Josh Taio said an inspection of the Lady Moana before it left for the northern group on October 10 showed the damage seemed to be confined to a steel bar at the ship’s stern.
However, as this did not affect the vessel’s seaworthiness, it was decided to proceed with the trip north, a day or two later than originally planned.
“We assessed it and there was no substantial damage to our little ship so we decided to go ahead with the voyage, but rescheduled it from Monday October 9 to the following day,” said Taio, who added that engineers would “have another look” now that it had safely returned.
“It seems the Tiare Taporo needs a lot more room in the harbour to manoeuvre safely. I wouldn’t want something worse to happen in the future.”
Taio said if the damage to Lady Moana proved more substantial than first thought, Tiare Taporo operators Pacific Schooners Ltd could be receiving a bill.
“Maybe they need to look at setting up a system where the ship can be attached to long ropes at the wharf so it can be pulled back in if something goes wrong,” he said.
“I’d certainly like to see how it would get into Penhryn harbour which is cramped for space and has lots of coral heads – I take my hat off to the previous captains who have been able to do it.”
Taio said he seemed to have been the last person to hear about the Tiare Taporo hitting Lady Moana. The incident occurred as the ship was re-entering the harbour after its first voyage in more than a year.
“The news seems to have got around very quickly. I even got a call from someone in London about it.”
The ship’s brief voyage on October 8 aimed to prove to the Ports Authority that the ship could be moved from the harbour under its own power in the event of a cyclone.
Had that proof not been provided, the Ports Authority was poised to make legal moves to have the ship towed out to sea and sunk.