Boaties advised to stay off the water
Monday, 9 January 2012 11:00 a.m.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council advises boaties to stay off the water due to the large amount of debris and containers in the coastal waters following the Rena breaking up.
Any boaties who head out should be extremely vigilant and aware of the risk of hitting floating and submerged items.
The Harbour Master has established a cautionary area in the western Bay of Plenty, which includes the area from Waihī Beach to Mayor Island to Maketū.
All vessels in this area are recommended to navigate with extreme caution.
All vessels should proceed at slow speed, keep a good lookout and travel through the area in daylight only. The debris field is extensive and its movement is unpredictable and could extend further.
The current Rena exclusion zone remains in place until further notice - a three nautical mile radius around Astrolabe Reef. This will be reviewed on a daily basis and may be extended as more information is collected.
Anyone found in the exclusion zone without the express permission of the harbourmaster may face fines or prosecution.
Regional Council has been advised that beaches have not been closed, however swimmers are also urged to stay out of the water due to the large amount of debris washing up.
The Port of Tauranga continues to be fully operational and is communicating directly with ships coming into and exiting the harbour around navigational safety.
It is important to notify Maritime New Zealand immediately, by calling 0800 645 774 if you see oil in the water, or 0800 333 771 if you see containers or debris coming ashore.