RENA oil leakage confimed 05
Thursday, 6 October 2011 9:00 a.m.
An aerial observation flight this morning has confirmed oil leakage from the cargo vessel Rena overnight has led to a light oil slick.
The National Response Team was advised of the leak around 10pm yesterday, and plans were put in place overnight to prepare for responding at first light.
The National On Scene Commander, Rob Service, said the flight this morning had confirmed a slick of very thinly spread oil streaming around 2000 metres in a narrow strip from the ship.
"The oil is very thin and it appears it is starting to break up and disperse naturally," Mr Service said.
"It would appear the slick has resulted from the pumping operation last night. We understand this leak has been stopped. We will be working to confirm this."
Mr Service said the response team was now assessing what the next steps would be.
The 236m cargo vessel struck the Astrolabe Reef, near Tauranga Harbour, around 2.20am yesterday. The Astrolabe Reef is about 4 nautical miles north of Motiti Island (about 12 nautical miles off the coast).
Around 25 members of the team arrived in Tauranga yesterday, working with members of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and other environmental agencies.
Supplies from the national oil spill response equipment stockpile arrived in Tauranga overnight and have been readied for deployment this morning.
"We were lucky in the sense that we had all of yesterday to get the team to Tauranga and get plans in place.
"We are ready to launch whatever level of response the situation requires."
Planning is also underway to manage any impact on wildlife in the area.
Wildlife experts from Massey University went on an observation flight over the vessel yesterday to assess wildlife populations in the area. They are working with local specialists, including the Department of Conservation to plan how to manage any affected wildlife.
Please see www.maritimenz.govt.nz/incident for more information, questions and answers, fly-over images of the site and information on New Zealand's oil spill response system.
For further information please call the MNZ Media line on 04 499 7318.