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RENA Update from Maritime NZ (167)

Thursday, 17 November 2011 6:00 p.m.

Calm conditions have allowed 15 more containers to be lifted from the rear of the cargo ship Rena to the crane barge Sea Tow 60 (ST 60), Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) says.

This brings the total number of containers removed to 18, after three were removed yesterday.

MNZ Salvage Unit Manager Kenny Crawford said "With every container removed, the consequences are lessened, but every day is a new day and each container presents its own puzzle.

"Cranes cannot operate in winds greater than around 24 knots, so we are very much at the mercy of the weather. Even if it looks calm, strong winds can halt operations," Mr Crawford said.

Salvors have now fitted 220 transponders to containers aboard the Rena and tugs are on hand to provide additional support for vessel operations.

Containers recovered from the Rena are being transferred from the ST60 on to the salvage support vessel Go Canopus, before being brought into port for unloading and processing as required. Container processing is being carried out by Braemar Howells.

Containers that need cleaning and treatment will be taken to the waste transfer centre in Truman Lane. Harrison's Cut will be used only for submerged or floating containers, which, for whatever reason, cannot be recovered by barges and must be marshalled onto the beach for collection.

Meanwhile, National On Scene Commander Mick Courtnell said clean-up teams have had a successful few days washing down rocky foreshores.

"Water blasting around the Mount is progressing well and teams have been out washing rocks by hand at Leisure Island. Mechanical cleaning is on-going at Papamoa and Maketu and all restricted areas will be clearly signposted," he said.

Mr Courtnell reminded the public that the risk of another release of oil is still present as salvors continue to strip oil from the groundedRena.

"The situation could unfold in any number of ways and we will continue to have teams and equipment ready to mobilise at a moment's notice," he said.

RENA Containers 17 Nov