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RENA Response update 35

Tuesday, 11 October 2011 11:00 a.m.

Media update on the Rena as at 0930 Tuesday 11 October:

• The Rena is settled on the Astrolabe reef as the list has improved from 11 degrees to 3-6 degrees. An aerial survey of the vessel shows there are no obvious signs of deformation. The ship has sustained some damage from current movements and there is a significant amount of oil leaking from the vessel. This is estimated at 130-350 tonnes from the overflight at first light today.

• Oil may also be leaking from the duct keel because of the damage sustained. Salvors are monitoring and assessing this situation. It is inevitable that some oil will reach beaches from Mount Maunganui south to Maketu. Oil is also expected to enter Tauranga Port.

• The Rena is still intact, but it is moving around in the weather conditions.

• All personnel have now been taken off the vessel as a precautionary measure due to the conditions. The vessel earlier called a mayday as precaution to expedite the safe removal of the remaining crew.

• The weather in the area of the ship is poor, with 3-4m swells and winds of 20-25 knots (37-46 kph).

• There has been more damage to the front part in the vessel, and additional flooding in the forward holds. However, this will to some degree help to settle Rena.

• No containers have come off the vessel. With the improved list the containers have become more stable, as they are now more upright than before. We are monitoring the dangerous goods containers, which are all intact and lashed down, but we will continue to monitor them.

• Dispersants are being tested on the fresh oil leaking from the ship. There is however sea swells of up to 4 metres which usually makes it difficult for the dispersant to work.

• The oil leaking from the ship is currently heading in a southerly direction which means it will move south down the coast. We can't control where the oil goes, but response teams are well equipped and trained to handle these situations.
• Approximately 100 members of our clean up response teams are at Mt Maunganui this morning to clean up the oil off the beach.

• There are 2 on water recovery vessels mobilised and they are ready to intercept any oil coming into the harbour.

• The Maketu estuary boom is still in place. There is no oil in the Maketu and Matakana estuaries, but with the currents and surge coming in it is possible oil will come into the estuaries even if the boom is there. We are prepared for this and have teams ready to be deployed immediately.

• Please do not pick up dead birds on the beach. Please call 0800 333 771 with the location of the bird/s and we will send trained teams to re-cover the birds. We need to keep counts of the birds to keep track of what species have perished so please report them to us.
• Please DO NOT walk your dog on the beach. This can be harmful to your pet and yourself.
• There are 12 teams from Mt Maunganui to Maketu scouring the area for oiled wildlife.
• There are no fresh reports of any more oiled wildlife.

• We have two iwi liaisons officers at the Incident Command Centre to keep local Maori informed of the situation, response, and progress. We are grateful for their assistance and we will continue to keep iwi informed.

There will be a rotation of some key personnel involved in the operation. Nick Quinn will take over as National On Scene Commander from midday today, and Ian Niblock as Deputy On Scene Commander. Rob Service and Alex van Wijngaarden have been working around the clock and this rotation does not cause interruption to our response. This is standard operating procedure.

ALL media enquiries:
0800 774 554 (0800 SPILL INFO)

International media call:
+64 27 812 7013  or  +64 27 815 4849  or  +64 27 820 4165.