6 Jun 2014

Harbourmaster sets 500m rule

3:29 pm on 6 June 2014

The Northland harbourmaster has ordered boats to keep 500 metres away from large ships in Whangarei harbour.

The special safety directive follows a near-miss between a kayak and an oil tanker approaching the Marsden Point oil refinery in May this year.

Jim Lyle said it's the latest in a series of dangerously close encounters on the harbour.

Captain Lyle says big tankers have a limited ability to manoevre. Small vessels risk being hit, or forcing the tankers to leave the marked channel, with dire results.

The 500-metre rule applies from Friday to all boats under 24 metres.