Rena Update 1 pm 10 January

Posted by Maritime New Zealand on 10/01/2012

The stern section of the MV Rena is perched on the edge of the Astrolabe Reef, with about 75 percent submerged and the remainder sticking up out of the water, Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) says.

A small amount of oil has been released from the stern section, along with debris – mostly timber – and a small number of containers.

MNZ trajectory modelling shows that the first oil is likely to reach Motiti Island this evening with more predicted to reach the shore at Pukehina tomorrow, National On Scene Commander Alex van Wijngaarden said.

“This was not unexpected,” Mr van Wijngaarden said. “We are prepared, and we will deal with it.”

Oil spill response teams are gearing up to clean up the oil, including placing booms in sensitive areas, and the oiled wildlife centre in Tauranga is being reactivated.

The volunteer programme is also being reactivated, and anyone wishing to assist with cleaning beaches should register on-line through the Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s website www.boprc.govt.nz/oilspillvolunteers

The amount of oil released has not yet been calculated, but is known to be only a fraction of the size of spill released last October.

Container recovery company Braemar Howells estimates that 400 containers are in the stern section of the Rena. Spokesman Grant Dyson said that two tugs have been sent to the Rena to try and contain drifting containers, and also tow any floating containers to a specialised recovery barge that was being deployed.

The tug Go Canopus is still connected to the stern section of the Rena. This morning when it became apparent that the angle of its list was changing, salvors took the opportunity to try and use the tug to reposition the rear section on the reef, which would have enabled the container recovery barge Smit Borneo to move in closer. This proved impossible.

The bow section of the Rena remains in its original position on the reef.

Meanwhile, work is continuing on-shore to deal with the debris released at the weekend when the two sections of the Rena separated on Saturday night.

Fifty people are working on Waihi Beach today, made up of iwi, Allied Workforce and staff from mining company Newmont. Another 30 people are working from Papamoa to Kaituna Cut and a further 20 are on Matakana Island.

Debris retrieved from the water yesterday has already been brought ashore at the Port of Tauranga. Work is also planned to empty the containers which landed on Waihi Beach yesterday, so the empty containers can be removed.

Over 20 containers beached on Manakana Island overnight and planning is underway to deal with these, Mr Dyson said.

Braemar Howells has activated 11 hubs, which are mini coordination centres, along 100km of the coast. An agreement between the company and iwi provides for their local labour force to be associated with debris clean-up efforts.