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RENA Update from Maritime NZ (154)

Friday, 11 November 2011 10:45 a.m.

Good progress is being made in lifting the flow rate of oil from the submerged number 5 starboard fuel oil tank on the grounded container ship Rena, Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) says.

MNZ Salvage Unit Manager Arthur Jobard said salvors had maintained continuous pumping of heavy fuel oil from Rena to the tanker Awanuia overnight.
At 3pm yesterday, around 54 tonnes of oil had been removed from the 358 tonnes in the starboard tank. A calculation of the total removed will be done later today and an update will be provided this afternoon.

Mr Jobard said the flow rate, which was just below 3 tonnes an hour yesterday, had been lifted to just over 4 tonnes an hour by this morning.

"The salvage team's first priority was to get a continuous flow of oil from the tank happening - this was achieved yesterday and overnight they focused on improving that flow rate," Mr Jobard said.

"This is going well and we hope they can maintain this higher rate for a decent period of time."

Mr Jobard said the flow rate was expected to drop as the level of oil in the tank reduced.

The weather forecast for the next few days was good for salvage operations, with only minimal swells and light winds. The clear weather was forecast to remain until Wednesday.

National On Scene Commander Rob Service said shoreline clean-up teams were working throughout the Bay of Plenty, continuing to remove residual oil from the beaches and rocky shorelines.

"We have teams on Matakana, Motītī and Rabbit Islands today. We also have teams working at Mount Maunganui, Pāpāmoa and Maketū.

"They are continuing with the painstaking job of removing oil from the sand and rocks around the coast. The volunteers are also continuing to do a fantastic job. They are showing incredible commitment to their coastline and we are immensely grateful to them for that."

The container recovery company Braemar Howells is responding to reports of debris from containers coming ashore at Mount Maunganui and other points along the coastline.

The company is also continuing to use sonar to search for containers lost overboard from Rena on 11 October.

So far, the locations of 32 containers have been identified, with 19 of those already recovered. A total of 56 remain unaccounted for.

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