RENA Maritime NZ update (66)
Sunday, 16 October 2011 11:30 a.m.
The National On Scene Commander has agreed to re-open a small section of beach between Mount Maunganui and Moturiki Island (Leisure Island).
Some restrictions on public access have been lifted, and the following areas are again open to public access:
From the Base Track at Mount Maunganui to Moturiki Island.
A marine oil spill response is being carried out and access is restricted in the following area:
From Moturiki Island to Maketu Point, including the Maketu Estuary.
The decision to allow public access to the small section of beach was made after careful assessment of the beach and water sampling.
National On Scene Commander Nick Quinn said this part of the beach had received light to moderate oiling last week.
"We've had beach clean-up teams there getting rid of the oil, and this morning we had environmental assessment teams digging down into the sand to check for any buried oil.
"They've dug a number of trenches down into the sand and established that it's clear.
"We have also conducted water sampling, which has confirmed the water in that area has returned to pre-spill conditions."
Mr Quinn said there was still the possibility that changing tides and weather conditions could bring residual oil to the open part of the beach.
"People shouldn't panic if they do see some oil around there - it's been three days since we got any fresh oil off the ship and so the oil that is out there is weathered and less toxic than any fresh oil.
"However, we still want people to report any oil they see - particularly around this open section of beach. We'd also ask that any oil that is seen, not be touched, but reported back to us."
Assessment teams had identified some oil in rock pools around the mount - clean-up teams were tackling this today.
Mr Quinn said although the open section was only a small piece of coastline, the quick turnaround between the oiling last Thursday and the re-opening today showed how effective the clean-up crews could be.
"We are here for the duration of this response. When oil turns up on the shore, we will get it clean and open to the public as soon as we can. And if we need to, we will do that again and again."
The beach between Moturiki Island and Maketu remains closed.
ALL media enquiries:
0800 774 554 (0800 SPILL INFO)
International media call:
+64 27 812 7013 or +64 27 815 4849 or +64 27 820 4165.