Credit: Stuff NZ
Nelson Coastguard had put the build of its new $1.4 million state-of-the-art rescue vessel on hold due to COVID-19, however confirmation Sealord is committing $215,000 to support the initiative means local vessel builders have been able to start work this week.
Nelson Coastguard Unit president Peter Kara says the current vessel is too small, 17 years old and needs considerable maintenance, so getting the build underway is a hugely significant milestone in the fundraising campaign for the much-anticipated boat.
“Despite the challenges of COVID-19 disrupting businesses and many facing hardship, Sealord has come to the party to ensure we can continue with our much-needed project. This will be our first new vessel that’s been purpose-built for the region, engaging a number of local firms to help make it happen,” Kara says.
“This contribution by Sealord means we’re now in a position to get the boat build well and truly underway, with just $200,000 now needed to enable completion on schedule in January 2021.”
Sealord Chief Operating Officer Doug Paulin says Sealord has been a long-time supporter of the Nelson Coastguard.
“Like them, we are focused on safety both on land, and given our fishing operations, also at sea. We sponsored the build and subsequent renovation of the Rescue Centre several decades ago and we will continue to be involved over the long-term,” Paulin says.
“As a major employer and contributor to the Nelson economy, Sealord is very keen to continue to support our community, particularly at times like these. This is a significant project and fits well with the message for locals to support locals post COVID-19. The boat has been designed in the Top-of-the-South by Naiad, based in Picton, and is being built by Aimex here in Nelson. That’s pretty cool.”
Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese says the contribution from Sealord is well timed given the need to stimulate the Nelson economy as it recovers from the COVID-19 lockdown.
“It’s great to see this investment benefit our local economy so directly. Having the boat built here in Nelson means more high skilled work for our region, and is exactly the sort of project that will see us rise to the challenge posed by COVID-19. Thank you to Sealord for getting things moving again, and to Coastguard Nelson for the invaluable work they do to keep us safe at sea,” she says.
Managing Director of Aimex Service Group Steve Sullivan says Aimex is thrilled at being involved in something so vital and worthwhile for the community.
“Getting this crucial project underway is very pleasing, both for its significance to the community, but also for our business having lost some projects during Alert Level 4 due to COVID-19.
“Life saving vessels come with a high level of detail and we’re excited about the innovations we can deliver to enhance its critical performance. This project is a true collaboration with all the parties involved,” he says.
The new vessel features:
Nelson Coastguard covers one of the largest geographical areas in New Zealand including some of New Zealand’s most challenging sea conditions. In 2019, Nelson Coastguard rescued 80 people.
The rescue vessel is expected to be completed early next year, launched at a special event hosted by Nelson Coastguard to acknowledge all those from the Nelson community who have supported the project. Any companies or donors wishing to contribute, should visit https://coastguardnelson.org.nz/donate/ for more information, or telephone Nelson Coastguard’s Secretary on 027 4474 186.
Sealord will have naming rights sponsorship for the vessel’s lifetime, approximately 20 years.