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RENA update from Maritime NZ (182)

Monday, 28 November 2011 10:30 a.m.

Good progress is being made on removing containers from the stricken ship Rena, Maritime New Zealand Salvage Unit Manager Kenny Crawford said today.

Twenty three containers were removed yesterday, with 15 empty containers taken ashore last night. Another three contained with dry, undamaged cargo. The total number of containers removed is now 119.

National On Scene Commander Rob Service said Maritime New Zealand's response to the Rena remains a complex operation.

"There is still oil on the Rena, and small amounts will continue to leak out of the ship as it was badly damaged.

"There is still some residual oil in the fuel tanks, the duct keel and other parts of the ship that the salvors haven't been able to reach. There is a risk that more oil could be lost from those areas if the vessel's condition changes. A sheen of oil was again visible this morning extending from the vessel.

Mr Service said a sheen of oil extending from the vessel was monitored daily by trained observers.

"Our observers look for patches of darker oil which indicate higher volumes of oil in the water. They are also monitoring the direction of the oil to ensure we are ready for any fresh oil reaching the shore."

Mr Service said the sheen had remained around the vessel stretching in an offshore direction for weeks now.

"We are reviewing our plans to ensure we are able to maintain the level of equipment and personnel to deal with a whole range of possible scenarios into the next few weeks, and over Christmas."

SCAT (Shoreline Cleanup Assessment) teams are continuing to check the northern coast of Motiti Island - the most difficult terrain.

Rock washing is taking place at Mauao (Mount Maunganui) today, and two units are working on Papamoa Beach and cleaning Leisure Island.

Volunteers enjoyed a barbecue yesterday organised by the volunteer community with five bands playing, all of whom were themselves cleanup volunteers.

Volunteer numbers were dropping off as people returned to work and other commitments, but more teams would be needed at Papamoa and Maketu later this week.

RENA Aerial 24 November