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RENA update from Maritime NZ (138)

Thursday, 3 November 2011 10:15 a.m.

Salvage teams are back on board Rena today, taking advantage of improved weather conditions, Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) says.

The first priority is ensuring the ship is as safe as possible for salvage teams to work in.

MNZ Salvage Unit Manager Bruce Anderson said environmental officers were on board the stricken vessel and would be assessing the noxious fumes from the now rotting cargo.

Renagrounded with 121 containers holding perishable food goods, which started to decompose some time ago.

Mr Anderson said salvage teams would continue with the work begun yesterday to transfer oil and lubricants to a centralised tank, which would make it easier to pump those oils on to Awanuia, once it is back on site.

Dive teams hoped to take advantage of the milder sea state to continue assessing the damage to the hull.

"The first team went on board early this morning and today Svitzer expects to have a total of 22 people working on the site," Mr Anderson said.

"The salvage team will continue to take advantage of the improved weather while they can."

National Oiled Wildlife Response Team coordinator Helen McConnell said nearly all of the 406 animals in care at the wildlife centre had now been cleaned.

Many of the oiled animals collected by field staff are dehydrated or hypothermic when they are picked up, and must be stabilised before being cleaned, Ms McConnell said.

"We have to make sure they are hydrated and strong enough to withstand the cleaning process, which is quite a traumatic experience for wild animals.

"We now only have half a dozen animals that still need to go through the washing process, which is fantastic. They are all expected to be strong enough to clean over the next few days."

"This will be a significant milestone for us as it will be the first time all birds at the centre are oil free. We can now concentrate on getting the birds back to good health."

National On Scene Commander Alex van Wijngaarden said shoreline clean up assessment teams were on the beach at Papamoa this morning following up on reports of oil in the water yesterday.

Members of the public are encouraged to call 0800 OIL SPILL if they see oil or 0800 333 771 if they see oiled wildlife.

"It's really important that people continue to call in with these reports. Members of the public are our eyes on the ground out there and we really appreciate the intelligence they give us," Captain van Wijngaarden said.

Around 230 volunteers are expected to take part in ongoing clean-up efforts around the Bay of Plenty today.

 

For more information, please visit www.maritimenz.govt.nz

Salvors on the oily floors, under crushed containers