New boating exclusion zones in the Bay
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 12:00 p.m.
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In consultation with the appropriate authorities, Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Harbourmaster has made an additional directive relating to the MV Rena situation off the Bay of Plenty coast from 12noon on Tuesday 10 January 2012.
The Harbourmaster has directed that all vessels must stay at least 200 metres clear of all containers from the Rena, as well as any salvage vessel working on the response.
These temporary exclusion zones are in addition to the ongoing exclusion zone which is an area of sea within three nautical miles of the Astrolabe Reef and any part of the Rena.
The additional temporary exclusion zones direction is issued to keep vessels away from areas that are known to contain navigational safety hazards such as containers from the Rena. These temporary zones around the containers will follow the hazards which are constantly moving with the changing currents and weather conditions.
Vessel operators must also keep well clear of all response vessels assisting with the Rena response.
The on-water situation is evolving and remains hazardous. The Harbourmaster urges vessel operators not to go out onto the water unless it is necessary. If the trip is unavoidable, vessels must proceed at slow speed, keep a good lookout and travel through the area in daylight only. The debris field is extensive, its movement is unpredictable and could extend further.
Boat operators are also reminded to take extra care around any anchored containers. These areas may contain unlit buoys, ropes, chains and anchors, so people should keep well clear.
Please notify Maritime New Zealand immediately if you see oil or containers in the water, by calling 0800 645 774.
People are advised to check the Bay of Plenty Regional Council website or contact local marine radio operators to find out the latest information.
Anyone found in the exclusion zones without the express permission of the Harbourmaster could face prosecution.