MINATO MARU 102, fishing vessel:
This Japanese tuna boat had hardly cleared Auckland on 6 September 1983, homeward bound after a five-month voyage in South Pacific waters, when she rammed Shearer Rock in the Hauraki Gulf at full speed of nine knots in fine, calm weather. The 17-man crew abandoned ship by liferaft and were rescued. The vessel floated free early on 8 September and was subsequently taken in tow, but sank shortly afterwards in 27m of water. Before he left the Minato Maru 102 abeam of Rangitoto Light on 6 September the pilot recommended a course to take the ship clear of Shearer Rock by two miles. The Japanese master said later he did not lay a course on the chart because he had been to Auckland three times before and considered that he knew the course to take. An inquiry said the loss was caused by ‘the failure of the master to navigate his vessel in a proper manner’. After the accident a buoy was placed on Shearer Rock.
The Minato Maru 102, official number 121291, was 30m long., registered at her home port of Hachinohei, Aomori-Ken and owned by Yamasugimoto Co Ltd. Divers subsequently recovered many bottles of expensive spirits.
Text from New Zealand Shipwrecks, 8th edition (Hodder Moa, 2007). Used with permission of the publisher and authors.