A crew from Harwood Marine salvaged the SeaHawk 3 trawler from Sportsmans Creek, Lawrence.
A crew from Harwood Marine salvaged the SeaHawk 3 trawler from Sportsmans Creek, Lawrence.

Bright future for sunken trawler

SNAKES and slippery trawlers? It's all in a day's work for the Harwood Marine salvage crew.

Earlier this month Harwood Marine were tasked with the recovery of the Seahawk 3, a 13-metre timber trawler which was banked on Sportsmans Creek, Lawrence since taking on water during the February floods.

Wickes and Parker were engaged with their 130-tonne crane to lift the boat and pump the water out.

However, what's a salvage operation without a few challenges?

"Unfortunately, the boat slipped on the muddy bank further into the water. This increased the reach for the crane, naturally reducing the lifting capacity," Harwood Marine managing director Ross Roberts said.

But the crew, made up of Harwood Marine General Manager Gio Cervella, Ben Pilcher and "Steve Squiggles" Ellem, weren't going to give up that easily.

"Mr Cervella devised a new strategy which involved refloating the vessel with airbags and pumping out the XS water to bring the vessel to float," Mr Roberts said.

"Commercial Marine divers from Brisbane where engaged to carry out the underwater component of this salvage.

"One funny incident along the way, was when one of the divers entered the sunken wheelhouse and came face-to-face with a large python who had been resting in there."

Mr Roberts said the diver promptly submerged, and could be heard yelling that they don't have snakes in New Zealand, so he was out of there!

"The snake decided to swim off, and the Salvage was successfully carried out, and the vessel refloated," he said.

While the Seahawk 3 will never sail down the mighty Clarence River again, Mr Roberts said it still had a bright future ahead.

"The vessel is currently in storage awaiting confirmation that it can be recycled, using the exotic hardwood timber, that can be refurbished into furniture and other decorative items," he said.