Crippled cargo ship towed out of Port Taranaki, still unable to use its engines

La Richardais was towed from Port Taranaki on Tuesday morning and will be delivered to Wellington.

VANESSA LAURIE/stuff

La Richardais was towed from Port Taranaki on Tuesday morning and will be delivered to Wellington.

A week after being towed into Port Taranaki, a huge logging cargo ship was towed out again, still unable to use its engines.

Just after 9 a.m. Tuesday, a relief ship put La Richardais to sea to be taken to Wellington.

From there, La Richardais will be towed by an offshore tug to a dry dock for repairs — most likely in Asia, said Belinda Snell, director of the Nautilus Shipping Agency, which manages the ship.

La Richardais is 180 meters long, almost the length of two rugby pitches, and can carry 35,000 tons of timber.

“There is no place in New Zealand that can accommodate a ship of this size,” Snell said.

Three tugboats brought La Richardais to Port Taranaki like a week ago after she was stranded 64 nautical miles at sea.

VANESSA LAURIE/stuff

Three tugboats brought La Richardais to Port Taranaki like a week ago after she was stranded 64 nautical miles at sea.

La Richardais was 40 miles (64 km) off the coast of Raglan when it broke down en route from Sydney to New Plymouth on Sunday evening 22 May.

The captain called for help and the Skandi Emerald, a supply ship owned by Austrian oil company OMV, was dispatched from Port Taranaki.

Skandi Emerald towed La Richardais to within two kilometers of the port, from where three tugboats docked her last Tuesday afternoon.

But after a week in port, engineers were unable to fix the problem, which Snell said was in the stern bay.

“She has no drive of her own.”

La Richardais visited New Plymouth to collect 18,000 JAS (Japanese Agricultural Standard) tons of logs.

Port Taranaki said the exporter’s next ship, TS Flower, will collect the logs this weekend.

Problems like these have arisen from time to time in international shipping, Snell said.

“When things go wrong, it’s usually big things.”

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