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RENA Update from Maritime NZ (178)

Thursday, 24 November 2011 12:00 p.m.

Bad weather continues to prevent container recovery operations on the Rena today, while salvors remain on standby for the weather to improve, says Maritime New Zealand (MNZ).

Maritime New Zealand Salvage Unit Manager Arthur Jobard said salvors were continuing to monitor the status of the Rena from the support vesselGo Canopus, with sensors on board theRenacontinuing to provide information about its condition. For safety reasons, no-one is currently on board theRena.

"The salvage team are keeping a very close eye on theRenain light of today's rough weather conditions. While there has been no change in the integrity of the vessel, it remains in a fragile condition, and is at the mercy of the weather.

"A dive survey yesterday showed no change to the structure ofRena, but our main area of concern is the unpredictable weather and how this may affect the ship."

Mr Jobard said north-west winds had increased over theRena's location, with gusts of around 25 knots (46km/h), shifting from north-west to south-west.  Wind gusts of up to 37 knots (68km/h) were expected during Friday and Saturday.

Fuel oil continued to be stripped from the no.5 starboard tank yesterday in small amounts.

As of late yesterday, 95 containers in total had been removed fromRena, with another two recovered in pieces. The crane bargeSea Tow 60is still in port while the current weather prevents operations. 

Container recovery specialists Braemar Howells (BH) remain on standby, with vessels and other equipment ready, for potential container loss. 

The total number of containers lost overboard has reduced by one to 87, following the discovery of pieces of a missing container on boardRenaduring operations yesterday.  Parts of another container previously unaccounted for were also found yesterday among other container wreckage on Motiti Island. 

With the recovery of the wreckage of these two containers, the total number previously accounted for has now reduced by two to 54.  Braemar are today taking containers brought ashore to Truman Lane for processing.  A number of the processed, cleaned containers have already been collected.

National On Scene Commander Alex van Wijngaarden said beach cleaning operations were continuing today. This included ongoing warm water washing at Mount Maunganui, with cleaning and salt water flushing at Leisure Island (Moturiki).  The team were also surf washing and grooming along Papamoa Beach.

Teams are also surveying the beach from Mount Maunganui to Papamoa east, following reports of wind uncovering old oil in a number of areas.  Mr van Wijngaarden said ongoing beach grooming above the high tide mark would continue, with the entire beach rechecked on an ongoing basis.

"It's great that people are still out there reporting this to us, which means we can get out there and respond. We encourage people to keep reporting any sightings of oil like this to us. In the meantime, our larger team of oil spill responders remain alert and ready to respond should more oil be released from theRenaduring the current unpredictable weather conditions." 


RENA Aerial 24 November