IRON MAIDEN, fishing vessel:
The Iron Maiden departed Mangonui on the morning of 16 August 2004, on a delivery voyage to Raglan. Later in the day the vessel foundered off Pandora Bank in adverse weather conditions. Both crew members lost their lives, only the skipper’s body being recovered.
The passage from North Cape to Cape Maria Van Diemen would have been relatively comfortable, but once rounding Cape Maria Van Diemen the light vessel with marginal stability was exposed to the full force of a south-west gale and a heavy swell. The vessel rolling and shipping heavy water on deck started taking on water through a damaged wooden hatch cover into the fish rooms. The crew, discovering the flooding, realised they had a problem and turned the vessel to run before the weather towards Pandora Bank. In darkness they were unable to see the build up of seas on the bank before them that, with a change of tide, became higher and steeper. At 1908 hours a Mayday call was received from the vessel reporting their position as 2.6 six miles west of the Pandora Bank. They were flooding and taking on water and were unable to control the vessel and were about to abandon ship. An air-sea rescue operation was quickly organised and at 2242 hours, a search helicopter reported finding the liferaft but due to poor visibility, were unable to ascertain if anybody was aboard. At 0422 hours on 17 August, the fishing vessel Brac, following directions to an EPIRB signal, recovered the body of the skipper. The liferaft was located by search aircraft and later recovered by the research vessel Tangaroa, but was empty.
In October, the RNZN using side scan sonar located the Iron Maiden at a depth of 45m and carried out a remote operated vehicle (ROV) inspection of the wreck. The RNZN ROV survey revealed damage, missing hatches and evidence of breaching of the hull by the heavy seas.
The Iron Maiden, a steel hulled fishing vessel owned by Maritime Solutions Ltd. of Hamilton, registered length 17.52m, gross tonnage of 72. Built in Australia in 1980 the vessel was originally named Kimijoy and then later Schameel before being registered in New Zealand in 1996.
Text from New Zealand Shipwrecks, 8th edition (Hodder Moa, 2007). Used with permission of the publisher and authors.