RENA update from Maritime NZ (230)
Monday, 19 March 2012 11:00 a.m.
- The weather forecast is for winds gusting at between 40 to 50 knots at the Astrolabe Reef for the next few days, easing on Thursday morning. Swells of up to 4m to 5m are also expected. These conditions will have an impact on salvage operations over the next several days.
- Svitzer salvors have focused on the removal of further heavy fuel oil (HFO) from the number 5 starboard tank over the weekend - they have removed an estimated 16 tonnes of HFO over the last few days.
- Two containers were removed from Number 6 hold of the wreck and sent ashore for processing on Saturday.
- Due to the heavy swell and rough sea conditions at the reef, Smit Borneo has now moved away from Rena and back in the Port of Tauranga- the barge will remain there until the conditions ease.
Container and debris recovery
- A total of 647 containers are now accounted for onshore - this comprises 575 containers removed from Rena by salvors and 72 recovered from the water and shoreline by Braemar Howells container recovery teams.
- Beach surveys were carried out over the weekend on stretches of beach from Mount Maunganui to Maketu, as well as at Waihi Beach and Bowentown. Small amounts of debris - mainly pieces of foam from refrigerated containers - were recovered.
- The focus of today's activities will be primarily the attempted retrieval of packs of latex gloves from the shallow waters at Bowentown. Braemar staff will also trek over to Orokawa Bay, north of Waihi Beach, today to conduct a beach survey.
- Other planned clean-up operations for the week will be determined by weather conditions. Bad weather is expected in the Western Bay of Plenty over the next few days.
Oil spill response
- No oil spill response clean-up operations took place over the weekend.
- Members of the public are encouraged to report any oil sightings to 0800 OIL SPILL.
- Ongoing shoreline clean-up assessment of affected areas will continue
- National On Scene Commander Rob Service said the further removal of oil from the wreck by salvors was positive news for the oil spill response team. "This has further reduced the threat of more oil spilling into the environment. Every drop of oil removed from the wreck is oil that will not go into the sea, so it's great to see this progress. This is complex work as the remaining oil is very inaccessible, so it's really good news."