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An image of the vessel taken just as it disappeared underwater off Motukorure Island (Centre Island) in Mercury Bay this afternoon. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Boat sinks in Mercury Bay

Waikato Regional Council was at the scene of a sunken new 50-foot motor launch off Motukorure Island in Mercury Bay on Wednesday.
The vessel struck rocks near the island – also known as Centre Island – sometime before 3.45pm and sank fairly quickly, with 1300 litres of diesel on board. The skipper and his passenger were uninjured.
Regional council maritime officers arrived just before the vessel sank completely in approximately 20 metres of water and remained on scene to assess whether there was any oil or diesel leak.
“The good news is that there’s no evidence of oil spill and no smell of diesel in the vicinity of the sunken vessel,” said Regional On Scene Commander Cliff Gibson.
“Based on the information we have, we believe the vessel’s fuel tanks will be intact at this stage, but the breathers will be open.”
A breather is a vent from the tank to relieve pressure. It stops fuel coming back out of the filler tube when the tanks are being filled.
Mr Gibson said the council had spoken with the boat’s owner, who was working with his insurance company to arrange salvors.
“The good news is that conditions are favourable, but with the weather expected to start to turn on Friday afternoon we’re working to ensure the vessel’s removal is expedited,” he said.
Iwi and the Department of Conservation had been notified of the incident.