04 April 2016

Small vessels are once again allowed in the Astrolabe (Otaiti) Reef area.

The Bay of Plenty Harbour Master has amended the exclusion zone to provide access for vessels under 500 tonnes, from 8am Tuesday 5th April 2016, in response to the MV Rena clean-up operations concluding on Monday 4th April 2016.

Whilst all previous directions relating to the closure of areas associated with the Rena salvage operation are withdrawn (with effect from 0800 NZST 05 April 2016) exclusion zones will remain in place for vessels over 500 tonnes in the following areas:

  • Astrolabe Reef 2.0nm centred on position 37 32.446 S - 176 25.625 E
  • Brewis Shoal 1.5nm centred on position 37 34.136 S - 176 22.828 E
  • Okaparu Reef 1.5nm centred on position 37 34.914 S - 176 21.669 E
  • Penguin Shoal 1.0nm centred on position 37 26.752 S - 176 20.164 E
  • Volkner Rocks 2.0nm centred on position 37 28.624 S - 177 08.015 E

This is in accordance with clause 3.11 of the Bay of Plenty Regional Navigation Safety Bylaw 2010 and section 33F(1) of the Maritime Transport Act 1994.


Astrolabe (Otaiti) Reef:

  • Is a dynamic area of open ocean situated 12 nautical miles from the entrance to Tauranga Harbour
  • It is exposed to strong currents and weather patterns.
  • Covers approximately 49 hectares of which the remaining wreckage  of MVRena occupies less than 2%.

Maritime Safety Tips:

  • Safety is the skipper's first priority. No matter how big or small the boat, every boat skipper is responsible for the safety of those on board.
  • Your boat must not exceed 5 knots within 200 metres of the shore, a structure or any vessel flying the International Code A Flag (dive flag).  
  • Your boat must not exceed 5 knots within 50 metres of another boat, raft or person in the water.
  • Always check the weather before heading out. If in doubt don’t go out.

For more safety advise for on the water check out: www.boprc.govt.nz/HarbourMaster