RENA Update from Maritime NZ (150)
Wednesday, 9 November 2011 10:30 a.m.
Salvors on board the Rena are optimistic that they will be able to begin pumping heavy fuel oil from the submerged number five starboard wing tank today, Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) said.
There has been no significant release of oil from the Rena for over a week. Work is continuing on shore to clean up weathered oil that has been washing up around the coast or has been uncovered by natural tidal movement.
National On Scene Commander Rob Service said that the most of the oil on shore was being removed by hand. However, beach grooming equipment is also being used after trials showed it was effective in some circumstances. Rock flushing is being carried out at Mount Maunganui.
The following teams are working on removing oil today:
- New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and iwi volunteers are at Matakana Island
- NZDF and National Response Team staff are at Mount Maunganui
- The grooming machine is working on stretches of shore between Tay St and Girven Road
- 60 volunteers, 50 contractors and 20 NZDF are at Papamoa
- 20 iwi volunteers and 100 volunteers are at Maketu
- 20 volunteers are at Motiti Island.
Lieutenant Commander Phil Rowe, Commander Joint Task Force for the oil spill response, said that NZDF personnel had collected 1.4 tonnes of oil and waste from beach clean-up operations yesterday alone.
"It was all fine beads of oil, about the size of a pea, which they picked up by hand," he said.
In total, 898 tonnes of oiled waste have been collected so far.
Container removal contractor Braemar Howells is continuing to search for containers lost overboard from the Rena three weeks ago, and is using two vessels to carry out sonar sweeps of the seabed in areas where the water is 30m deep, or less. Three items that were identified by the scans as possible containers were checked yesterday and found to be rocks.