Boat launched upside down


What looked like a boat launch gone horribly wrong, actually went swimmingly on Tuesday with the hull of a new inshore trawler now afloat in Port Nelson ready to be fitted out.
The newly constructed hull entered the water upside down before being flipped upright by a tug in what was a first for the Nelson boat building industry. The boat is being constructed by Port Nelson engineering company Aimex Service Group and chief executive Steve Sullivan says the upside down launch was “the easiest and safest” way to get the hull in the water.
“We usually lift it up by crane and flip it in the air but didn’t really want 80 tonnes in the air so we put it in upside down. It was all sealed and then the tug came and righted it.”
Steve says the boat is expected to be completed and ready for delivery by July next year. It is the first of six inshore boats Aimex is building for the country’s biggest iwi-owned fisheries company Aotearoa Fisheries.
It was designed by Australian company Ocean Tech with guidance from Nelson-based Westfleet chief executive Craig Boote.
Aotearoa Fisheries chief executive Carl Carrington says the six boats will be completed over the next few years at a total cost of $25-30million.
He says the new boats will provide a much-needed boost to the country’s ageing inshore fishing fleet which has an average vessel age of 40.