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RENA update from Maritime NZ (220)

Friday, 3 February 2012 10:30 a.m.

Below is the update from Maritime New Zealand on the Rena response operations.

Salvage

  • Salvors have experienced a good week of progress in removing containers and debris from the Rena. However, this remains a challenging and time-consuming task, involving the cutting up of containers and manually removing debris and damaged contents so it can be taken ashore.
  • The McDermott heavy lift helicopter continues to be used to recover debris. The helicopter has been removing loads of up to 2.5 tonnes from the wreck.
  • 475 containers have been removed from the Rena.
  • Cargo and remains from wood containers were removed yesterday by the McDermott helicopter, with a 20 foot container from Bay 4 also removed. Bay 4 is now empty.
  • A second helicopter completed 8 lifts of paper and also leather.
  • Two damaged hatch covers were lifted off Rena by the Smit Borneo.
  • Some movement in the forward part of the wreck continues to be detected as the structure continues to deteriorate, but this is not unexpected. This movement is due to the weight of containers being lifted off the wreck, as well the internal structure being exposed to the force of sea and the movement of containers up and down inside the holds.
  • Salvors and naval architects continue to monitor the wreck to ensure it remains safe to work on.
  • Salvors are continuing to work on surveying the area around the submerged rear section of the Rena with divers and are attempting to source a ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle) to help with mapping.
  • No diving work was carried out yesterday afternoon due to the choppy conditions.
  • A significant number of damaged containers and a large amount of debris remain on the sea floor around the Rena.
  • The weather forecast for today is for winds of 18 knots, gusting to 22 knots from the South-South-East, with a swell and sea conditions of about 2m. Weather is overcast and seas choppy. This is expected to continue through to Sunday.

 Containers

  • Braemar Howells advises that more than 220 tonnes of container debris has been removed from Matakana Island in combined helicopter and barge operations.  This has included large tonnages of milk powder and recycled paper.
  • A total of eleven containers have been removed from the island, some of them empty - and others in a badly damaged condition which have been cut up.
  • There has been excellent support from local iwi for the recovery operation.
  • Next week the Braemar team will focus on further cleaning of Matakana's beaches - the work will include lifting piles of stacked wood and timber onto a barge offshore.
  • A wooden structure built at Orokawa out of timber debris has been removed for safety reasons. People are asked to please report any containers or debris to 0800 333 771.

 Oil spill response

  • MNZ continues to assess the level of risk and resources needed to respond to the Rena and has recently relocated and re-sized the ICC to reflect this. The ICC has a large warehouse space which will allow it to expand if the scale of response needs to escalate again.
  • About 25 people are currently working in the ICC with more in the field. The response team comprises people from all round the country, working in areas such as planning, logistics, salvage, wildlife, administration, finance etc.
  • Small amounts of oil continue to trickle from Rena producing a light sheen.
  • 30 people were working on Matakana yesterday (Thursday) and two teams of 15 each were working at Mt Maunganui and Leisure Island, and this is continuing today. A team of 5 is also working at Ongare Point.

 Wildlife

  • 17 Little blue penguins and 1 grey-faced petrel are being cared for at Massey University, with another 4 penguins being cared for in Tauranga.
  • There are tentative plans to release 8 penguins next week, conditions permitting.
  • A wildlife team that has been working at Motiti will return to Tauranga today.
  • The Te Maunga wildlife facility has been largely dismantled and will be passed back to Tauranga City Council shortly.

 

Rena sunrise - 24 January 2012