When the MV Mataliki was first built in Bangladesh, using New Zealand Aid, the new build – destined to service the Tokelau Islands – attracted some criticism from both this magazine and our local ship and workboat sector.
At the end of the day, the build was not cheap but we suspected at the time that the quality may not be up to the standard of New Zealand ship builders; however, it would be five years before we could get a look at the vessel firsthand.
In July 2018, discussions took place with the ship’s agent and Heron Ship Repair Ltd. to book the vessel Mataliki in for its first five-year annual survey. The booking was confirmed in March 2019 with the vessel to arrive in August 2020.
Due to Covid-19 the government put the nation into Alert level 4 lockdown at the end of March until 28 April. Little did the nation know just what impact this would have on individual industries.
While New Zealanders could return home by flight and endure a 2 week managed isolation process, the process for vessels entering the country for survey, refit and repair work was a lot more arduous.
The paper trail began in June with an array of organisations being involved, including: NZ Marine Industry Association, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), Ministry of Health, New Zealand Defence Force, along with numerous accommodation and transport agencies.
Even though the vessel was operating in the Covid-free Pacific islands between Samoa and the Tokelau Atolls, they finally obtained government clearance in mid-August.
Mataliki left Samoa 30 August for its five-day voyage – arriving at Whangarei harbour on Friday, September 4.
Once the vessel cleared customs, the crew was collected from Main 4 Wharf (Heron Ship Repair) and transported to the Novotel hotel at the Auckland International Airport to enter managed isolation.
The vessel was handed over to the ship yard and, after a sanitising clean, Mataliki was hauled out of the water on September 12 for five weeks on the slipway. It would be fair to say that after five years’ service in the tropics either bouncing alongside in Apia, or working lighters in the Atolls, the vessel was looking scruffy – and in serious need of some TLC.
Many of her onboard systems were in need of repairs and maintenance to bring her back up to full operational efficiency.
During the project Heron Ship Repair welcomed a visit from Ross Adern, Administrator of Tokelau, Sophie Hazlehurst and Fatu Tauafiafi who both coordinate media for the Pacific Maritime Program and Tokelau media platforms.
The vessel was due for her first five year survey which entailed removing propellers and shafts, rudders, anchors and cable. All hull valves were removed for inspection and repairs where required.
A large hole was cut in the hull to access the engine room to allow removal of generators, engine parts and other equipment for service, repairs or rebuilds as and where required.
The main engines were completely stripped down and had their 5 year Lloyds overhaul, this work was carried out by a small team from Amex Engineering in Nelson.
The vessels generators and alternators were removed and sent away for a full strip down and service. This work was carried out by City Rewinds in Auckland.
Over the course of the maintenance survey there were numerous hours of time by M&I Electrical from Whangarei with some input from World Power from Auckland, this time was spent fixing small repairs throughout the vessels elaborate electrical and PLC systems.
The vessel was tidied up from top to bottom with all the small external brackets and bits and pieces cut off and replaced with marine grade stainless steel.
Various other corrosion and damage repairs were carried out before a fresh coat of paint was applied to the topsides and decks and a full coat of antifoul was applied to the hull.
Mataliki departed Whangarei on November 14 and headed back to Samoa and the Tokelau Islands.
The project was a credit to Heron Ship Repair in regards to working collaboratively with the Management team and crew of the vessel along with their preferred external contractors from around New Zealand.
Heron Ship Repair wish the vessel and its team all the very best for their voyage home while looking forward to the possibility of welcoming the vessel back for its next 5 year survey.