Watchdog to review footage of Tuhoe stranding

The wreckage of the MV Tuhoe (Newshub)
The wreckage of the MV Tuhoe (Newshub)

A Government watchdog will review drone footage which captured the wrecking of an historic vessel on the Canterbury coast late last year.

There were claims the MV Tuhoe was hit by a freak wave moments before it struck an underwater sand bar at the Waimakariri River Mouth in September, but a local film-maker has since claimed his aerial footage proves the stranding was actually caused by human error.

The 96-year-old boat suffered irreparable damage and had to be dismantled.

VIDEO: Film-maker Bobby Reeve claims there was no 'freak wave'

A Maritime NZ spokesperson has confirmed their staff will take a "detailed look" at the drone footage and promised to work with the Harbourmaster to ensure "additional local knowledge".

The Government body completed what it described as "preliminary enquiries" in November and decided not investigate further, as the vessel was appropriately manned and working inside of its Maritime Transport Operator Certificate.

They were unable to determine why the vessel stranded, despite talking to people aboard the boat, saying there are limited resources for investigations and the priority was on accidents with serious harm, loss of life or anything with "broader public interest in identifying potential safety issues".

Skipper Graeme Monk has previously claimed a "freak wave" pushed the boat to port, but in an interview with Newshub yesterday said he was just following directions from the Coastguard.

"We were doing exactly what we were told to do -- follow the Coastguard -- and they were in radio contact with us. Just before we grounded they said 'You're perfect, you're doing exactly what we want you to do'."

Coastguard New Zealand CEO Patrick Holmes stood by the initial Maritime NZ findings but said he would "fully co-operate" with any further inquiries.

Filmmaker Bobby Reeve plans to release the extended drone footage in a documentary through White Bus Family Productions in the coming months.

He claims Maritime NZ already saw the footage during the initial investigation  and was surprised with their decision to find no accountable for the stranding.

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