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RENA update from Maritime NZ (205)

Saturday, 14 January 2012 4:00 p.m.

Improved weather conditions today have enabled crane barge Smit Borneo to make its way back toward the wreck of the Rena, however it may be some time before container removal resumes or divers can undertake a survey of the sunken aft section, say Maritime New Zealand (MNZ)..

Once seas reach a calmer state, the barge will connect to a series of anchors and rest along the port (left-hand-side) front section of Rena before endeavouring to recover further containers. 

"The dynamic sea state and the relative proximity of the reef below make it difficult to indicate any timing for this next stage of container salvage," said National On-Scene Commander Rob Service.

"Divers are also on standby for the right conditions to survey the sunken rear section," said Mr Service. 

Salvors are mindful of significant surges around the ripped-apart steel structure, with the addition of sea foam and other visibility challenges.

Salvage contractors can not advise the state of the underwater section or plan their next steps to recover underwater containers until a detailed dive survey operation has been carried out.

The sea swell is expected to reduce to 1.5m on Sunday night and further reduce to 1m on Monday.

Today an oiled little blue penguin bird was recovered offshore from Hahei in the Coromandel area and is being transferred to the Te Maunga wildlife recovery facility. 

The National Oiled Wildlife Response Team are currently considering an extension to their operations to cater for any further confirmations of oiled wildlife along the northern coastline.

There are currently seven little blue penguins at the Te Maunga oiled wildlife facility, with 28 under care at Massey University.

Braemar Howells container recovery teams were continuing with their operations today at Waihi Beach, as well as working with local iwi to tackle the debris and timber along Matakana Island.

People are reminded to contact the Braemar Howells Hotline if they discover a container or its contents on 0800 333 771 or email noting the container ID number and its location.

Rena broken up