Tai Ping, a Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier with a crew of 23 and 9,500 tonnes of urea fertiliser aboard, ran aground at Tiwai Point near the entrance to Bluff Harbour on the morning of 8 October, 2002.
The Maritime Safety Authority (MSA) declared a Tier 3 emergency response following the grounding of the vessel, on the basis of the large volumes of fuel oil carried on board and the risk of a potential spill.
By declaring a Tier 3 emergency, the MSA was able to plan for a major pollution response, should there be a significant oil spill from the vessel.
Booms were set up around the vessel to contain any leakage while equipment was deployed to be close at hand in case a clean-up was needed.
An oiled wildlife holding facility was also set up just in case it was required.
After being grounded for nine days, the vessel was refloated safely and not a drop of oil was spilled.