Rena: Pumping Starts


The next 24 hours will be critical for the fuel recovery from the stricken cargo ship Rena, stuck on the Astrolabe Reef- that pumping started tonight and will continue overnight.

Weather conditions are expected to remain good for salvage operations to start tonight but the sea state is expected to rise on Monday night.

Officials again today cautioned that the fuel recovery will be a “long process.”

Yesterday salvage teams attached four platforms to the side of Rena and set up equipment in anticipation of a fuel recovery operation. The team expects to use extractor fans to remove gases from the fuel tank to make the area safe for salvors to work.

The plan is for those fuel recovery operations to be given today but the speed of the operation will depend on a range of factors including weather, the stability of the vessel and the viscosity of the oil.

The tanker Awanuia is in position in anticipation of receiving oil from Rena.

Officials are increasingly worried about the precarious state of the Rena’s stern.

Rena | Greenpeace

This morning an urgent warning was put to mainstream media as four of vessels they were on were hindering operations as they were breaching the maritime exclusion zone.

Some restrictions on public access have been lifted today - areas again open to public access are from the Base Track at Mount Maunganui to Moturiki Island.

A marine oil spill response is being carried out and access is restricted in the following area: From Moturiki Island to Maketu Point, including the Maketu Estuary.

Authorities say the decision to allow public access to the small section of beach was made after careful assessment of the beach and water sampling.  National On Scene Commander Nick Quinn said this part of the beach had received light to moderate oiling last week.

“We’ve had beach clean-up teams there getting rid of the oil, and this morning we had environmental assessment teams digging down into the sand to check for any buried oil.  They’ve dug a number of trenches down into the sand and established that it’s clear.

“We have also conducted water sampling, which has confirmed the water in that area has returned to pre-spill conditions.”

Mr Quinn said there was still the possibility that changing tides and weather conditions could bring residual oil to the open part of the beach.  “People shouldn’t panic if they do see some oil around there – it’s been three days since we got any fresh oil off the ship and so the oil that is out there is weathered and less toxic than any fresh oil. “However, we still want people to report any oil they see – particularly around this open section of beach. We’d also ask that any oil that is seen, not be touched, but reported back to us.”

Assessment teams had identified some oil in rock pools around the mount – clean-up teams were tackling this today.

Mr Quinn said although the open section was only a small piece of coastline, the quick turnaround between the oiling last Thursday and the re-opening today showed how effective the clean-up crews could be.  “We are here for the duration of this response. When oil turns up on the shore, we will get it clean and open to the public as soon as we can. And if we need to, we will do that again and again.”

The beach between Moturiki Island and Maketu remains closed.


Rena Clean up work continues as a container lies on the beach |Greg Novak

382 Defence Force personnel are currently assisting the oil spill response operation. 140 NZ Army personnel from the 2nd Land Force Group, based at Linton Military Camp, have formed shoreline clean up teams for the purpose of removing oil and salvage from affected beaches





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