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RENA Maritime NZ update (71)

Monday, 17 October 2011 11:45 a.m.

Fishermen, boaties and other vessel operators coming across containers at sea that have fallen from Rena are asked not to attempt to touch or move the containers, as they remain a significant navigational hazard.

National On Scene Commander Nick Quinn says vessel skippers should instead gather as much information as possible, including a latitude and longitude, container number, colour, size, drift direction and rate if possible, and report it to Bay of Plenty Maritime Radio on Channel 16 or Taupo Maritime Radio on High Frequency.  Alternatively, mariners should phone the Tauranga-based incident response team on 0800 645 774. Information can also be emailed to containers.rena@gmail.com and coordinationunit.rena@gmail.com

"While at sea, the containers and their contents remain the property of the salvors Svitzer, so mariners are asked not to attempt to touch or tow them, as Svitzer will deal with them. Similarly, people are asked not to go near any containers that may wash ashore, but instead report their location and any other relevant information to us."

Mr Quinn says specialist container salvage experts Braemar Howells Ltd have been engaged by Svitzer to secure and, if necessary, decontaminate any containers may come ashore.

A team from Braemar Howells is currently heading to Whakatane to retrieve a container discovered by a local fisherman near Rurima Island earlier today.

"We're very grateful for any reports from local mariners or people on shore who may come across containers, as that means we can then send out specialist teams to deal with them."

Meanwhile, in other developments:

  • pumping of oil from Rena is continuing today - weather conditions are currently calm
  • there is a chance of increased swell later this evening, which may impact on operations
  • another pump has been brought in to help boost pumping operations on board Rena
  • the rate of pumping will increase once the new pump is in place
  • all operations need to be staged and done incrementally to ensure all risk is mitigated
  • additionally, some portable steam units are being sourced to possibly heat the oil
  • the salvage team is currently exploring whether the ship's auxiliary systems can be used as a power source
  • Rena remains on a 21 degree list
  • containers on board are currently secure, but if swell increases, some more may be lost
  • there are currently nine salvors working on board Rena
  • there is a Navy Seasprite helicopter on standby for overnight operations, in case an evacuation is necessary and surface vessels are also on standby during the day
  • wider aerial surveillance is being carried out to locate any further existing oil that may be in the water or on shore
  • no further oil is believed to have left the vessel and any oil on beaches is from the original spill
  • seafood should not be gathered from areas affected by oil - fishing is not affected except for inside the exclusion zone
  • 207 live birds and 3 New Zealand Fur Seals are now in care at the Wildlife Centre
  • a total of 1,290 dead birds have been recovered 
  • there is a community briefing at the Whakatane High School for local residents at 6pm today (Monday 17 October)
  • there is a community briefing for Te Puke, Maketu, Pongakawa and Pukehina residents at the Te Puke Memorial Hall, Jellicoe Street at 6.30pm tomorrow (Tuesday).
  • We are also holding specific stakeholder meetings. These are not open to the media.
RENA ship and containers on lean 8 oct low res