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RENA Update from Maritime NZ (170)

Friday, 18 November 2011 6:01 p.m.

Salvors have removed a further eight containers from the grounded shipRenabut the operation is heavily dependent on good weather, Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) says.

MNZ Salvage Unit Manager Kenny Crawford said a total of 31 containers had now been removed fromRena.

However, the removal of containers had paused this afternoon due to high winds.

 "Weather is one of the major players in this operation," Mr Crawford said.

"Salvors are constantly monitoring weather conditions and container removal had to stop this afternoon as winds exceeded 24 knots.

"It is important to bear in mind that conditions onshore can be vastly different to conditions at sea and salvors will continue to make the most of good weather as it comes along," Mr Crawford said.

A number of factors affect container salvage operations. These include the height, direction and period of swell as well as the wind speed and sea state.

"Long, slow, deep swells can cause particular concern for salvors as any movement below is amplified at the top of the crane," Mr Crawford said.

Meanwhile, in consultation with the appropriate authorities, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council's harbourmaster has amended the exclusion zone off the Bay of Plenty coast, with MNZ's support.

From midnight tonight (Friday 18 November), the exclusion zone will be reduced to three nautical miles around the cargo shipRena.

National On Scene Commander Mick Courtnell also reminded beach-goers to take care over the weekend.

"It's important people remember that the beaches are not the same as they were beforeRenagrounded. There is still residual oil in the sand and in the water, and people should take care.

"Access restrictions remain in place at Maketū Spit and for about 3km east of Harrison's Cut past the Pāpāmoa Surf Lifesaving Club to Alexandra Place.

"Any oil sightings should be reported via the 0800 OIL SPILL hotline," he said.

RENA First Container Defence Force Photo