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RENA Maritime NZ Update (87)

Thursday, 20 October 2011 7:15 p.m.

The removal of oil from the vesselRenacontinues this evening following the re-establishment of pumping lines earlier this afternoon. As at 4:10pm 11.1 tonnes of oil had been removed from theRena.

Salvage unit manager Dr Bruce Anderson says the booster pump was also reinstalled to aid the speed of pumping but a circuit blow-out required a back-up booster pump to be installed, which is currently operational.

"The salvors have contingency upon contingency for situations like these. A backup booster pump has been brought in and the existing pump will have the circuit repaired."

He says divers have entered the ship through a submerged corridor to investigate the seals of the starboard-side engine room manhole.

"This is in preparation for creating a cofferdam (an enclosure to create a dry work environment) to allow access to the starboard-side fuel tanks."

Salvors will remain aboard theRenatonight to continue with the highly complex pumping operation.

The exclusion zone is currently being reviewed by the regional harbourmaster.

Of the 88 containers lost overboard, 29 containers are unaccounted for. Braemar Howells Ltd, the company appointed by the salvors for the recovery of containers, has employed a side-scanning sonar to aid location and recovery.

The Wildlife Response Unit has established a staging unit in Te Kaha with capacity to take in 100 animals. The Oiled Wildlife Response Unit in Te Maunga now has 288 birds in care. The rate at which deceased animals are arriving at the centre is now declining, with a total of 1323 to date.

National On Scene Commander Ian Niblock says that shoreline clean-up work has continued today.

"Around Maketu Spit, the Army, iwi and volunteers collected more than 800 bags of oiled waste. That's a fantastic effort. Tomorrow our volunteer network will be working on clean-ups at the Mt Maunganui main beach and at Papamoa, and we will also be assisting iwi at Maketu and Waihau Bay.

"We're aware that some oil is mobilising on the surfline from the sand around Mount Maunganui and Papamoa. Because of this, we will keep the beaches closed in the interest of public safety."

The main Mount Maunganui Beach will remain open for public access, but not for swimming. However, Ian Niblock says with the long weekend coming up, the response team will be working hard to keep the beach clear, with twice daily clean-ups to remove any oiled waste.

Shoreline clean-up assessment teams have confirmed that earlier reports of oiling at Whakatane Spit and Ohope Beach are incorrect.

Rena 19 October