Rena Spil: Preparing for Oil Transfer


Latest from Maritime NZ media briefings on the oil spill from the Rena, which was stranded on a reef off the Tauranga coast on Wednesday.

Sunday afternoon

Two vessels are carrying out on-water recovery operations in the vicinity of the Rena today, while work continues to prepare for the transfer of heavy fuel oil from the ship to the specialist barge Awanuia.
Awanuia is a double hulled bunker barge, capable of holding 3000 tonnes of oil, designed for refuelling ships at sea.
It is now near Rena and National On Scene Commander Rob Service said it would take a matter of hours to prepare for the direct transfer of oil. However, several factors would determine exactly when that process would begin, under the direction of the salvage company Svitzer.
Two ocean-going barges Northern Quest and Phoenix left port this morning carrying specialist equipment and trained oil spill responders. They are tasked with recovering quantities of heavy fuel oil in the water.
Further oil spill equipment is also being loaded onto two naval vessels to trial how it could be used in the response. HMNZS Endeavour is scheduled to arrive in Tauranga around 6pm.
Meanwhile, on-shore assessments are being made of all the areas which could be affected by oil blown on-shore.
The New Zealand Defence Force has personnel on standby to move to Tauranga at short notice to help with a clean-up if that should be required.
The oiled wildlife response is continuing with four field teams still on Motiti Island, two more carrying out wildlife surveys on Matakana Island, and a survey planned on Rabbit Island today.
Oiled wildlife patrols will be carried out on the main beach between Mt Maunganui and Maketu today and also on the other side of the Maketu peninsular

Health warning
The Medical Officer of Health Jim Miller is advising people in the Bay of Plenty not to collect and consume seafood (including shellfish and fin fish) from waters with visible oil contamination. Any seafood that has off or petrol like odours should be avoided.
In particular, as a precaution people should not collect shellfish from Mōtītī Island.
Although there is no evidence of the oil spill reaching the coastline, conditions are continually changing.
Collection and testing of shellfish is underway by Maritime New Zealand and further advice will be issued in due course.

The prime minister is visiting the scene this afternoon.

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