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Rena update, New Zealand: What is the latest situation?

20 May 2012

Salvage
Rough weather at the reef earlier in the week caused some disruption to salvage activity but salvors resumed work yesterday and made good progress, removing a large number of bundles of aluminium ingots from the number 1 hold.

rena_wreck
The wreck of Rena aground on Astrolabe reef - Many of Rena's bulkheads have been destroyed by the sea
Photo : Maritime New Zealand

Salvors have also continued to remove containers and pieces of hatch covers and other debris from the bow section of the wreck.

The wreck remains in a fragile state, subject to the weather conditions. Monitoring has confirmed some further deterioration in the bow section caused by flexing of the wreck. The bow section remains fixed hard on the reef.

There are currently moderate winds out at the Astrolabe Reef with a sea state of between .5 and 1m. Both the sea state and the winds are expected to drop over the weekend and remain relatively calm through into next week.

Container and debris recovery
The Braemar Howells recovery team is continuing its efforts to recover plastic beads from parts of the Coromandel and Matakana Island in particular.

Shoreline teams are working in areas including Matapaua Bay, and clean-up methods using modified vacuum equipment is working well. Helicopters are being used to recover debris from isolated areas and transfer it to motorised barges standing by offshore.

On Matakana Island, shoreline recovery teams are cleaning up beads and some timber from the sand dunes above the high tide mark.

Shoreline surveys and clean-up have also continued on Papamoa and Pukehina beaches.

The Braemar distressed cargo specialists say that over the past week an additional 100 tonnes of aluminium ingots have been landed ashore. This takes the total amount of aluminium recovered to 309 tonnes.

Braemar NZ Operations Manager Neil Lloyd says that a comprehensive sonar sweep of the seabed aimed at locating containers and large debris items has been completed. The team is now moving into phase two of the operation, where targets are identified to confirm whether they’ve come from Rena. Details will be made available at the completion of this project.

The number of containers recovered by the salvors and landed ashore by Braemar stands at 778.

Meanwhile, Braemar plans to investigate this weekend reports of a large object offshore from Waihi Beach. The recovery team is continuing to respond to sporadic reports of debris coming ashore, the latest from Hahei on the Coromandel.

Oil Spill Response
Members of the public are encouraged to keep reporting any sightings of oil to the oil spill response hotline on 0800 OIL SPILL (0800 645 774).

The oil spill response has been reduced from a Tier 3, or national level, to Tier 2, or regional level, response. Any queries about the oil spill response should now be directed to the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.