RENA update from Maritime NZ (120)
Friday, 28 October 2011 7:15 a.m.
Salvors on Rena will today continue to focus on gaining access to the starboard tank of the ship, in an effort to begin pumping oil from there as soon as possible.
However, Maritime New Zealand Salvage Unit Manager Kenny Crawford stressed that accessing the tank was a challenging and complex task. "With the starboard tank underwater, and the vessel on a heavy list, this is a difficult, dangerous and dirty job."
Work was progressing well on building a dam so that water could be pumped out and salvors could access the starboard tank. All going well, the dam would hopefully be completed later today, he said.
Last night salvors also managed to pump more oil off Rena from the port settling and service tanks.
So far 808 tonnes of oil has been removed from Rena, with the port fuel tank now empty apart from a small amount of oil residue. This leaves an estimated 575-600 tonnes on board.
Meanwhile, National On Scene Commander Nick Quinn said oil spill clean-up efforts today would be focusing on rocky areas around Mount Maunganui and Leisure Island, as old oil was resurfacing along the foreshore at Papamoa Beach.
Mr Quinn said 'good old fashioned manual labour' was still the best means of getting oil off the beaches, but that the response team would also be trialling mechanical equipment such as sand sifters, which could be used at a later stage to help clean beaches.
A total of 812 tonnes of oily waste had been removed from beaches so far, he said.
Wildlife teams would also be continuing to comb the coastline for oil-affected animals today, with 390 live birds now recovered and being cared for. Five new enclosures are open for penguins, with five more to be built over the coming week.
Volunteer Coordinator Pim de Monchy said more volunteers are still being sought to help in the response effort, with two scheduled clean ups at 10am today at Tay Street, Mt Maunganui and at the Taylors Road end of Taylor's Reserve, Papamoa East. More clean ups were also planned throughout next week.
Mr de Monchy also thanked the many businesses and corporates who had helped provide people and resources to the volunteer effort, and called for any more that were willing to help to step forward.
"The clean up effort is going to take weeks, if not months, so we need as many volunteers as possible. I really encourage anyone who has a few spare hours to make sure they're registered at /oilspillvolunteers/ to come down and help. Even those from further afield are welcome to come for the weekend and lend a hand."