RENA update from Maritime NZ (184)
Friday, 16 December 2011 11:00 a.m.
- Two containers were lost over the side in last night's stormy weather. One damaged container, carrying aluminium chairs, has sunk. Another floating container, carrying 18 packets of timber and fitted with a transponder, is being monitored. Once located, it will be towed and placed on board the barge ST60. The search for the sunken container, which is inside the exclusion zone, will continue.
- Sensors on board the Rena have detected some additional minor movement, but there is no overall change to the status of the vessel. However, it still remains in fragile state.
- A damaged cable on the crane barge Smit Borneo has been replaced, but operations continue to be hampered by bad weather.
- Soft mooring ropes connecting the Smit Borneo to the Rena parted overnight due to the rough weather, with barge experiencing rolling of 5-6 degrees. The weather peaked about 10pm yesterday with a combined sea state of 6m.
- This morning's overflight of the Rena noted two distinct narrow tracks of rainbow sheen about 30-50m wide stretching 1-2km from the ship.
- The swell is dying away today and winds from the northeast are turning north westerly this morning. The patchy weather is set to continue over the next couple of days, with north easterly winds of up to 40 knots (74km/h) expected to peak late Saturday. Fine weather is forecast for Sunday.
Oil spill response
Shoreline Clean Up Assessment Teams are checking locations around the harbour and the south end of Matakana today. Wet sand from heavy rain is limiting oil cleanup on beaches, but rock washing will continue at Mauāo. All areas will be checked, with several reports of fresh tar balls on the beaches, and work is continuing at Matakana.
Night operations at Mauāo yesterday did not reveal any oiled birds, as the rough weather means they are likely to have stayed out at sea last night. A team will check Mōtītī Island today and the key penguin areas will be checked today and overnight looking for any birds which have been oiled or distressed.