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RENA Update from Maritime NZ (75)

Monday, 17 October 2011 7:30 p.m.

See below the latest update from Maritime NZ - www.maritimenz.co.nz

DATE: 17 October 2011    TIME: 7.00pm


Rena Update (#28)


The removal of oil from the Rena has continued today with good progress being made. A crew of three salvage team members will remain on board overnight to continue with pumping as weather permits. About 70 tonnes of oil had been pumped off the vessel as of 5.30pm today.

Earlier reports that the Rena had broken up are incorrect. Salvage experts advise that while the vessel is cracked port and starboard, it remains together in one piece and is in the same position as it has been for the past week.

Svitzer Salvage team leader Captain Drew Shannon indicated that the ship had its own unique challenges.

"It's a difficult and challenging operation. Our team is taking their time to remove the oil safely to minimise further risk to the environment. 

"We are also working feverishly in the background with planning and logistics on the removal of containers. Our priority however remains the removal of the oil from Rena.

"We're continuing steadily with the transfer of oil. We had to first prove the system and now are working to improve that and speed up the removal process," Captain Shannon said.

He also had high praise for MNZ and the New Zealand Defence Force, and thanked them for their assistance with the salvage operation.

A booster pump is being prepared and is likely to be operational by this evening, while steam units (to help heat the oil to make it easier to pump) are still a work in progress

National On Scene Commander Nick Quinn said the magnitude of effort in recovering oil is significant.

"We've had no new oiling on our beaches. I visited the Oiled Wildlife Response Centre today and seeing penguins swimming around really reminded me of why we're doing this," Mr Quinn said.

"We've had a team out at White Island and we can confirm there's been a light amount of oiling, although because it's weathered, emulsified oil in the form of palm sized patties, they're relatively easy to collect and remove."

Other information:

Salvage
• the current focus is on pumping from the accessible port side (tank #5)
• if the ship does break up, that will move the operation into a different realm of salvage, however, fuel oil can still be recovered if the stern is on the seabed

Oil clean-up
• 350 volunteers took part in beach clean-ups today
• Generous offers of support from local businesses are being taken up
• shoreline clean-up assessment teams continue to patrol shorelines - with the shore from Waihi to Cape Runaway segmented
• tomorrow, segmentation of the area from Waihi north to Mercury Bay will take place
• further assessments are being done overnight regarding possible reopening of closed beaches
• 53 tonnes of waste has been collected today, with a total of 744 tonnes of waste collected so far


Wildlife
• more than 200 animals are currently in care
• care is being taken to ensure the 40 endangered New Zealand Dotterels in the centre are kept as stress-free as possible

Iwi liaison
• there are now eight volunteer 'pods' from Waihi to Maketu
• rocky shore training took place today at Maketu and will continue on Mauao tomorrow
• a group of volunteers has been mobilised on Motiti Island, and resources have also been deployed to the island

Defence Force

  • the Naval vessel Rotoiti maintains its presence within the exclusion zone and is continuing to patrol the area
  • reconnaissance teams have been assessing options for clean-up operations in the eastern Bay of Plenty
  • the Seasprite helicopter is coming on task for night surveillance and operational assistance.

 


ENDS

Rena17Oct