Boulders have been found on the floor of Avatiu harbour. Photo: COOK ISLANDS POLICE/22052420
A number of boulders found in Avatiu Harbour have posed a risk to the docking of the new police patrol boat Te Kukupa II, which is expected to arrive in Rarotonga in July.
According to the Cook Islands Police Service, 15 boulders were found on the harbour floor.
The boulders lie within the berth
pocket of where the patrol boat normally docks, with the old boat Te Kukupa recently
assessed for damages from the boulders over a month ago.
Cook Islands News understands that Police
Maritime Surveillance Advisor LT CDR Mark Te Kani and Police Commissioner James
Keenan have prepared a request for the boulders to be removed, in advance of
the new patrol boat arriving from Australia on July 20.
“It’s important that the police request
be taken up as a priority, so the intention is to consult with the government
(and) the appropriate agencies involved such as the Ports Authority, CIIC, and
perhaps the PM, due to the importance of protecting the valuable asset the
patrol boat,” said a spokesman for the Cook Islands Police Service.
“So far, the assessments reveal
this to be an uncomplicated job, which should only require an excavator on the
wharf to bring the boulders up.
“Disposal has also been considered
as part of the job,” he said.
“We don't believe the cost would place this work in the stratosphere of tender contracts and it would only take a day. However, an Environmental Impact Assessment is probably required, and this could eat up valuable time, which is why we would like speedy consideration for approvals.”
Ports Authority Harbour Master John Jessie said there are
certain requirements to get an excavator to work on the wharf because Avatiu
Harbour is considered a “light wharf”.
He confirmed that an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA)
from the National Environment Service would also be required by the Cook
Islands Police Service for the task to be carried out.
He said he didn’t know where the boulders came from, but
that he had never experienced anything like the boulders appearing in the
“Because we don’t know what the boulders are like, whether
they have grown inside the harbour or are boulders that came from elsewhere, we
need that approval,” Jessie said.
“The Cook Island Police Service would need to get a 21-tonne
excavator to do the job. “They are (also) required to get an engineer to do a site
visit and confirm whether that excavator can work on the wharf.
“Should the project not be complete in time, then we will
put the (new) patrol boat at the front by the domestic until that job gets done,”
“We are hoping that things will fall in place on time.”