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Shipping vessel runs aground on Manihiki coral reef

Wednesday 23 March 2022 | Written by Caleb Fotheringham | Published in Local, National

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A Taio shipping vessel called the MV Grinna II ran aground on Manihiki’s reef close to the harbour just before 4pm on Monday.

John McLeod, Island councillor for Tauhunu, Manihiki, spent a large part of Tuesday at the wharf by the ship.

McLeod said he could not confirm how the incident happened.

However, he said the cause may have been engine trouble.

“We were hoping it wasn't fully stuck to the reef, they tried to wait for high tide and even our boats tried to find ways to pull it off.

“Crews from various government departments and private (sector) tried unsuccessfully to unwedge it from the reef.

“Some cargo that was on deck got thrown into the sea, some were recovered but some were also lost and sunk.

“It's not just the front of the boat (stuck) up on the reef, it's lying sideways, which makes it more difficult to move.”

McLeod said “the ship is not going anywhere” and efforts are being made to remove as much cargo as possible while the weather was good.

People from the island of Rakahanga also came over to help remove cargo, he said.

Shipping company owner, Tapi Taio said he still needed to find out how the ship got grounded, until then he said he could not say much about the incident.

“All we do is prepare the ship, that's what we do then the ship goes,” Taio said.

“It’s like giving a car to somebody and he drives it into a tree… the guy who drove it to the tree is really the one to answer.”

“I can't say much, I don't drive the car, my job is to make sure the engine is running, everything is in order and the ship sails, and the captain drives it.”

Taio said the crew were occupied unloading cargo yesterday.

The Grinna - which was built in 1980 as a research vessel -  weighs over 280 tonnes and is 34 metres in length. 

In early 2017 another one Taio’s ships, Moana Nui ran aground.

Moana Nui, was a brand new vessel from Norway but hit the reef off Nassau four months into being used.