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RENA More resources mobilised 18

Friday, 7 October 2011 8:00 p.m.

Four little blue penguins and two shags affected by oil have been rescued from Motiti Islandthis afternoon. The birds are being stabilised and treated by trained oiled wildlife responders.

There are four teams of responders based on Motiti Island and another two on the mainland, with a further 10 teams to be deployed tomorrow.

Shoreline assessments of the most vulnerable areas have been undertaken today.

National On Scene Commander Rob Service said oil trajectory modelling was proving accurate.

"Our teams have been doing spot checks of beaches where the public had reported oil sightings. However, we have managed to rule out all of these sightings. So far, we have found no evidence of oil on any beaches, which is what we have predicted based on our modelling."

Mr Service said reports from the public were appreciated and would be followed up. Anyone who sees what they think may be oil on a shoreline should ring 0800 OIL SPILL (0800 645 774).

A forward operations base has been established at the Port of Tauranga, where resources and equipment for an on-water oil recovery response is arriving from around the country, and Australia, to supplement what is already locally available. Operations teams are training with the equipment ready to deploy as soon as needed.

Dispersant applications continued today and the results are still being assessed. The slick has remained a constant size today.

Meanwhile, the salvage operation being undertaken by Svitzer is underway on board theRena. The first priority is to remove the fuel from the vessel - it is intended this operation will be underway on Monday.

Mr Service said the removal of the oil is a complex operation.

"The fuel tanks on any ship are designed to feed fuel to the engine through pipes. They are not designed to be emptied in this way. The salvage company will have to set up a system on board to move fuel a significant distance before offloading it. There is no way of doing this quickly."

Mr Service said Maritime New Zealand was continuing to get offers of support and resources from aroundNew Zealandand the world.

The New Zealand Defence Force had offered its Naval tanker and had 500 people on standby to assist.

Experts fromAustraliahad also been offering support to the team, with some personnel joining the response.

For updates on the response effort, please visit www.maritimenz.govt.nz 

PLEASE CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW FOR A HIGH RES VERSION OF THIS IMAGE

Photo: Rescued little blue penguin

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