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RENA Maritime NZ Update (58)

Friday, 14 October 2011 2:35 p.m.

See below the latest update from Maritime NZ - www.maritimenz.co.nz

DATE: 14 October 2011 TIME: 2.30pm

Rena Update (#17)

Beach cleaning teams are working all over Tauranga beaches today to clean oil leaked from the cargo vesselRenafollowing its grounding on Astrolabe Reef.

Teams are also being trained and positioned in areas where oil is projected to come ashore over the next few days.

National On Scene Commander Nick Quinn says the team is "ahead of the oil," working to ensure when oil reaches the shoreline, teams are already on the ground and ready to respond.

More than 3000 volunteers have registered their support and Mr Quinn said it was heartening to see theBayofPlentycommunity get behind the response effort.

"We have a volunteer coordination team working to ensure we get the maximum benefit from all these fantastic volunteers. The important thing for us right now is to ensure we manage all these people properly."

Members of the public are reminded to join the response effort through the formal volunteer registration process, which includes training and the provision of protective personal equipment. This will prevent further contamination of otherwise clean sites.

Clean Up Operations

  • A total of 220 tonnes of waste has now been taken to the transfer station. The waste is being collected by two companies working through a consented waste management plan.
  • Potentially toxic waste from the containers is also being disposed of through the consented waste management process.
  • Predicted westerly winds will push oil away from the beaches today but will extend the area of the oil spill response out to the east.
  • Training is being coordinated for teams based in the eastern regions, and forward operations bases are being established. This will ensure the response is ready for oil grounding there.
  • Beach access is restricted betweenMountMaunganuiand Maketu Point, including the Maketu Estuary. This is to minimise as much as possible further environmental damage.
  • There is no evidence of any fresh discharges of oil today or overnight.

Salvage

  • Salvage teams have been winched on to the Rena this morning.
  • The salvage team is attaching four platforms to the port side of the vessel. The platforms will provide a flat surface for fuel pumping operations from the port tanks. This is a complex operation and there is unlikely to be any pumping today.
  • The team has a sound plan in place and has effectively choreographed the operation - each team member is clear on what they need to do.
  • Evacuation teams remain on standby to evacuate these teams if required. It is a challenging and potentially dangerous job - but the salvage team we have is the best in the world and they have human safety as their number one priority.

Containers

  • The salvage company, Svitzer is responsible for collecting the containers in the water. They report they have identified 35 of the 88 that have fallen overboard, and 14 have been recovered.
  • Members of the public should not touch containers that reach the shore, or touch or consume any of the goods that have come free from the containers.

Volunteers

  • More than 3000 people have registered to volunteer, many through the website www.boprc.govt.nz/oilspillvolunteers. People can also register to volunteer at the Omanu andMountMaunganui surf clubs.
  • The training and equipping of these volunteers is going well and there will be around 1000 volunteers on the ground tomorrow, working from seven locations.
  • Volunteer coordinators at the incident command centre are working through a plan to roster these volunteers so their assistance can be used effectively.

Public health

  • Health warnings are being issued to prepare residents for worsening smells from the oil.
  • The oil spillage on the beaches, combined with the current weather conditions, has produced in a noticeable smell in some areas. This smell is likely to diminish over a period of one or two hours from the time the oil reaches the beach.
  • Some people in the vicinity may experience some physical discomfort. They are advised to shut windows and avoid the immediate vicinity of the beaches and all immediate or secondary contact with the oil spillage.
  • There is further information for the public on health issues arising from the oil spill at http://www.toiteorapublichealth.govt.nz/rena_public.
  • Anyone with symptoms they are concerned about should contact Healthline on 0800 611 116.

Wildlife

  • There are a total of 92 oiled birds at the wildlife facility being cared for.
  • There are now 17 rare dotterels in captivity at the centre - they have been caught to protect them from the oil. There are only 100 dotterels known to be in theBayofPlentyregion - the wildlife team is aiming to capture 60 of these, to ensure the population is protected.
  • There are only about 1500 dotterels in existence. A special aviary is being built at the wildlife facility to cater to the needs of these rare birds.
  • The total of dead birds has now reached 1000.
  • Volunteers who want to assist the wildlife response should contact the wildlife team on 0800 333 771.

Booms in Waipu Bay and Waikereao Estuary

  • Recreational boaters should take care when in and aroundWaipuBayand Waikereao Estuary. There are booms in both locations to minimise the impact of the oil spill.
  • TheWaipuBayboom extends across the mouth of the inner harbour from the boat ramp to theTaurangaBridgemarina.
  • There are two booms in place in Waikeraro Estuary near the Tauranga underwater club.
  • The booms are bright orange and will be visible during daylight hours. Caution should be exercised when there is low light and at night.

 

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