Insurers support cleanup at tsunami-hit Tutukaka marina

Insurers support cleanup at tsunami-hit Tutukaka marina | Insurance Business New Zealand

Insurers support cleanup at tsunami-hit Tutukaka marina

Members of the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) have sent crews to assess damage and help recovery efforts at the tsunami-hit Tutukaka marina.

On Saturday, the eruption of the underwater volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai in Tonga sent huge waves crashing into Tutukaka. This resulted in the sinking or damage of multiple vessels and damage to several marina structures.

“While the focus for most is rightly on the direct impacts of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai eruptions across Tonga and neighbouring Pacific Islands, closer to home, insurers have a responsibility to get on with the job of arranging the safe clearance of wrecks from Tutukaka marina, pollution control, securing vessels and assisting in getting the marina fully functioning again,” said Tim Grafton, ICNZ chief executive.

ICNZ advised boat owners to deal directly with their insurers to have their claims registered and assessed. The insurance sector, represented by ICNZ, will work closely with the Northland Regional Council Harbour Master and marina management to plan the safe recovery of vessels and infrastructure. It will also ensure that pollution prevention measures and health and safety standards will be observed by everyone involved in recovery efforts.

Several wrecked vessels have already been raised, but around four remain underwater, ICNZ said. The waves have also dislodged a number of piers and mooring fingers. In some cases, specialist equipment, such as heavy lifting systems and barges, may have to be brought in.

ICNZ said that it will take some time to fully asses how long recovery efforts will take and how much they will cost, but the figure is likely to run into the millions of dollars. 

“Marine losses in Aotearoa New Zealand are expected to be just a footnote to the full social, physical and economic impacts felt by our Pacific neighbours as a result of the eruption,” Grafton said. “While we’re getting on with the job in hand at Tutukaka marina, are thoughts are with our Pacific neighbours.”