Coast­guard base lost af­ter elec­tri­cal blaze

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - VIR­GINIA FALLON

Boat­ies on some of the world’s most treach­er­ous water are be­ing mon­i­tored from an of­fice in the Porirua city cen­tre, af­ter a fire de­stroyed the coast­guard’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions base.

Coast­guard Mana pres­i­dent Peter Feely said about $20,000 of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and res­cue gear was lost when an elec­tri­cal fire on Au­gust 14 de­stroyed the group’s por­ta­com base on the Mana wharf.

The equip­ment would be cov­ered by in­sur­ance, but with­out a base the group was un­able to do its job - sav­ing lives.

‘‘To be op­er­a­tional and com­ply with mar­itime law we must have a base from which we can track and com­mu­ni­cate with our ves­sels out on the water,’’ he said.

‘‘If we’re do­ing a search and res­cue op­er­a­tion we must have the abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate.’’

Porirua City Coun­cil came to the group’s aid and al­lowed them tem­po­rary use of the emer­gency man­age­ment of­fice in the city cen­tre.

‘‘At least now we are tech­ni­cally able to op­er­ate, but there’s a large dis­tance be­tween us and the crew, five or six kilo­me­tres, and at 3am it’s not ideal.’’

The group was search­ing for a new prop­erty as close to the ma­rina as pos­si­ble, he said.

‘‘We’re re­ally hop­ing some- one may come for­ward with some space on the wa­ter­front that we could use. We’re def­i­nitely open to of­fers, any of­fers.’’

The Mana Coast­guard cov­ers a large area on the Welling­ton re­gion’s west cost, from north of Puku­rua Bay, over the Cook Strait to the top of Queen Char­lotte Sound and back to just south of Porirua.

‘‘We also look af­ter some of the most treach­er­ous wa­ters in the world, the Cook Strait, and Mana Ma­rina is the clos­est safe port to the sounds.’’

The or­gan­i­sa­tion’s busiest time was fast ap­proach­ing and it was im­por­tant they could con­tinue with their work.

‘‘It’s in spring when things get re­ally busy be­cause peo­ple have had the win­ter off and they’re ready to get back in the boat...we need to be ready for that.’’

By the num­bers:

* Since July 2015 Mana Coast­guard com­pleted 10 res­cues.

* Vol­un­teers spent 119 hours on op­er­a­tions.

* Mana Coast­guard mem­bers spent 1897 hours in train­ing.

* The unit won an award in 2014 for the year’s most dif­fi­cult res­cue.

Peter Feely stands in Mana Coast­guard’s de­stroyed com­mu­ni­ca­tions base.

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