RENA Observation flight details 20
Saturday, 8 October 2011 11:10 a.m.
An observation flight this morning has confirmed that oil appears to have stopped flowing from the stricken ship Rena off the coast of Tauranga for the time being.
The slick from the ship is now predominantly sheen, or very thinly spread oil.
National On Scene Commander Rob Service said dispersant applications would be put on standby until any further thick patches of oil are identified.
"The oil sheen is moving away from the nearby islands, and a sheen is spreading westerly about two to five miles from the ship.
"There are darker patches in isolated pockets but they seem to be assisted by yesterday's wind," Mr Service said.
Mr Service explained that dispersant is only effective on thicker concentrations of oil.
"Obviously from our perspective this is good - we will be continuing to monitor the slick. The observation flights are vital for directing our response, and we are doing these every few hours."
On shore, a massive response operation is underway. Representatives from the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) have now joined the incident command centre.
Four vessels from the NZDF have been deployed for the response, comprising Rotoiti, Taupō, Manawanui and Endeavour. The first three will arrive today with the Endeavour arriving on Monday.
An Iroquois helicopter arrives today and around 500 defence force personnel are on standby for a shoreline leanup if needed.
Assessment teams are inspecting Matakana island and Maketū estuary to examine options for protecting the shoreline from pollution. Oil spill response staff are working with scientists and iwi and undertaking reef dives off the north coast of Mōtītī island with aerial surveys down as far as Waihī Beach.
Specialist salvage equipment has been deployed from around the country and Australia to support the salvage operation being undertaken by Svitzer.
The Awanuia fuel tanker will sail for the Bay of Plenty to assist in the salvage of the Renathis afternoon, after discharging her current load of fuel oil at Marsden Point.
The Awanuia is owned by Seafuels, a joint venture company
between Ports of Auckland and Pacific Basin. In normal
circumstances the vessel is under time charter to Z Energy to
provide a re-fuelling service for cruise ships and commercial
vessels calling at the Port of Auckland.
The 80 metre, 3,900 tonne fuel tanker was purchased new by Seafuels in 2009. The tanker, which has a capacity of 25,000 barrels of oil, has state-of-the-art operational and environmental design features, including a double hull construction.
The Ports of Auckland tug the Waka Kume arrived in Tauranga early this morning to assist with the salvage operation.
A total of seven birds - five little blue penguins and two shags - have been brought to the wildlife response centre in Te Maunga with oil coverage to their feathers ranging from 30 percent to 100 percent. The birds are being stabilised and some will be washed today.
There are four teams of wildlife responders based on Motiti Island and another two on the mainland, with a further 10 teams to be deployed today - these teams will be out on beaches today looking for affected animals.
The next update will be at 2.30pm.
For media information please contact the Maritime Media number
on 0800 774 554
Wildlife response media contact: Peter Huggins, Department of Conservation 027 452 7335
PLEASE CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW FOR A HIGH RES VERSION OF THIS IMAGE
Photo: Little blue penguin gets fed by vet tech Pauline Conayne and wildlife vet Dr Brett Gartrell at the Wildlife Response Centre.