Rena Exclusion Zone still in effect
Wednesday, 6 March 2013 10:30 a.m.
The two nautical mile exclusion zone that exists for all vessels around the Rena wreck, situated on the Astrolabe Reef in the Bay of Plenty, is still in effect.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Maritime Operations Manager Reuben Fraser said salvage work to reduce the wreck and debris field was progressing well, but the exclusion zone was still in place to ensure operations could continue assafely as possible and without hindrance from other vessels.
"We've had reports of an increased number of exclusion zone breaches, by a mixture of privately owned and commercial vessels. We urge people to remember that unless they have the express permission of the Harbour Master, then they can't enter the restricted area and that they may be fined for breaching that."
"In consultation with the relevant parties we are constantly reviewing the exclusion zone and will keep the public informed if we do decide to make changes. At the moment the safety risks outweigh any other issues and we need to ensure we have measures in place to try and keep an already variable environment as safe as possible."
There have been 39 reported breaches of the exclusion zone since the beginning of the year. The tug Maui 1 is currently patrolling the exclusion zone and another Resolve Salvage and Fire vessel will also be assisting enforcement of the exclusion zone on days when higher vessel traffic is anticipated.
Automatic Identification System Technology is used by the Harbour Master to remotely monitor any ships breaching the exclusion zone.
Resolve Salvage and Fire is currently working to remove over 1,000 tonnes of debris from around the wreck, while continuing operations to reduce the bow to 1 metre below the lowest astronomical tide. It is anticipated that the bow operation work will be completed within the next two to three months, dependant on weather conditions.
A full public process and consent application will need to take place before any decisions can be made about the future of the wreck.
For the latest information on the Rena, please visit: www.renaproject.co.nz