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RENA Update from Maritime New Zealand (199)

Tuesday, 10 January 2012 7:00 p.m.

The following information was provided at today's press conference. You can watch footage from the press conference at www.youtube.com/bopregionalcouncil

Salvage- Dave Billington, Maritime New Zealand Salvage Unit

  • The condition of the stern section of theRenabegan to change significantly from about 8.30am today.
  • The anchor tugGo Canopusbegan an attempt to reposition the stern section on the reef to make it easier for the container recovery bargeSmit Borneoto move closer to theRenaonce container operations resumed. This proved impossible due to the weight of the ship and the water entering the vessel.
  • A helicopter with salvors landed on the bow section of theRenaat 9.20am to monitor the condition of the stern, which progressively sank between 9.30am and 10am.
  • The stern section has been stable since 10am, with about 75 percent underwater - including the bridge.
  • A small amount of oil and debris, and two containers were discharged from the stern section as it submerged.
  • Weather and sea conditions at the reef have not allowed salvors to board the stern. When possible, divers will inspect the hull and there will be an assessment of whether theSmit Borneocan be repositioned over the wreck.

Oil Spill Response- Alex van Wijngaarden, MNZ National On Scene Commander

  • Trajectory modelling of the oil released today shows that it is likely to reach Motiti Island about 6pm today, and the beach between Maketu and Matata late tomorrow.
  • The National Response Team has been mobilised and plans are in place to put out booms to prevent as much oil as possible from reaching sensitive areas along the coast.
  • The volunteer Adopt-A-Beach programme has been reactivated
  • The salvors have equipment at the reef to try and contain any oil escaping from the wreck.

Containers and Debris- Claudene Sharp, Braemar Howells Operations  Manager

  • Two containers were discharged from the stern section as it sank. One sank and the other floated. It has since been taken in tow by a tug.
  • There are 11 other pieces of containers adrift
  • BH has deployed 13 vessels, ranging from tugs and barges to a fast response vessel, from the Waihi Beach area south to Motiti.
  • BH has identified 49 containers either floating or beached since theRenasplit at the weekend. Of those, around 25 are beached.
  • The containers which have beached are known to contain timber, paper, plastics and milk powder.. None contain hazardous goods.
  • The furthest north that containers have been located is Whiritoa, north of Waihi Beach.
  • BH has activated 11 hubs along the coast, to coordinate the collection of debris.
  • Today, over 140 people were involved with removing debris along the coast and on Matakana.
  • 13 containers are confirmed ashore at Waihi Beach, of which 4 have already been removed, 1 was destroyed in rough seas and 8 remain.
  • Wherever possible, containers and debris will be recovered on the water.

Paul van't Hof, Svitzer Salvage Master

  • Until the swells subside, it is not possible to assess the condition of the submerged stern section or carry out underwater surveys and plan further salvage operations
  • TheSmit Borneois still available if it proves possible to resume container operations
  • Sensors on the bow section of theRenashow that it is still stable

Hon Gerry Brownlee, Minister of Transport

  • The Government is satisfied that the response is being conducted very professionally
  • Cooperation between MNZ, local councils, Svitzer Salvage, Braemar Howells and iwi is resulting in smooth operations.
  • Waihi Beach residents have expressed their satisfaction with the speed of the debris removal

Hon Nick Smith, Minister for the Environment

  • The amount of oil released in the last 24 hours is very small - in single digits
  • Containers and debris are being collected and removed efficiently
  • Catherine Taylor, the former Director of MNZ, has been engaged by the Ministry for the Environment to lead the long-term environmental recovery programme, starting tomorrow.

Extra information provided at 7pm

Oil Spill Response

  • Maritime New Zealand's oil spill response team has placed the first boom, at Maketu, in anticipation of oil from the Rena reaching shore tomorrow.
  • Sensitive sites have been checked today and plans updated for dealing with any oil that comes ashore.
  • Extra teams will be available tomorrow to respond to any reports of fresh oil.
  • The wildlife centre at Te Maunga has been recommissioned. No confirmed reports of oiled birds have been received since the Rena's stern section sank today.
  • Wildlife patrols will be on the beaches tomorrow, including teams at Motiti Island and at Matakana.
  • The volunteer oil spill response programme has been reactivated. People who have previously registered to help clean up beaches will be contacted to see whether they still wish to participate. New volunteers can register through the Bay of Plenty website: www.boprc.govt.nz/oilspillvolunteers
  • Two community meetings will be held for Tauranga and Western Bay residents at Tauranga on Thursday, at 12pm and 6pm, both in the Tauranga Boys' College Auditorium
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