Whale Stranding “Unrelated” To Rena


A whale stranding in the Bay of Plenty this morning was unrelated to the Rena oil spill, according to DoC.

The Department of Conservation says the pygmy sperm whale that beached at Ohope Beach this morning has been refloated.

The whale was assessed by DOC specialists, who insist the stranding was unrelated to the oil spill from Rena.

The salvage is still being hit by bad weather conditions - the wind is blowing up to 30 knots at times, which is causing difficulties for the operation. However, the salvage team is remaining on the ship “for the time being.”

The salvage team is continuing to pump oil from the cargo vessel, making what Salvage Unit Manager Andrew Berry calls slow but steady progress.

MNZ Salvage Unit Manager Bruce Anderson confirmed a total of 171 tonnes of oil had now been removed from the port number 5 tank. This tank originally held 772 tonnes.
Note this figure is the amount pumped off in total since pumping operations began.

National On Scene Commander Alex van Wijngaarden said shoreline clean-up work was going well, with volunteer teams today working at Harrison’s Cut at Papamoa, Mount Maunganui, Maketu and Waihau Bay.

Decontamination training was successfully carried out in Waihau Bay this morning, Captain van Wijngaarden said.

“We have sent equipment to the eastern Bay of Plenty, with more than 500 units of personal protective equipment and decontamination equipment sent to Waihau Bay.

“We also have trained teams assessing the shoreline to ensure we take a methodical and safe approach to the clean up. What we’ve seen so far out in Waihau Bay is a lot of debris from the containers, rather than oil – it’s a natural collection point and we will just have to keep cleaning and re-cleaning those areas.”

Rena on her 21 degree list | NZDF

Captain van Wijngaarden said a number of goods and services had been donated to the Rena response.

“We’re extremely appreciative of the individuals and businesses that have shown their support to the response effort.

“We are continuing to get amazing support from the local community, in the form of volunteers, donations, and general feedback. We really appreciate this – it is hugely encouraging to the team to see everyone get behind the response.”

The main Mount Maunganui Beach will remain open for public access over the long weekend.

Capt van Wijngaarden said he appreciated people wanted other beaches open for the long weekend, but the risk of contaminating clean areas with oil was too high.
Shoreline clean-up assessment teams have confirmed that earlier reports of oiling at Whakatane Spit and Ohope Beach are incorrect.

There will be five volunteer events taking place along the coastline tomorrow, and these will be coordinated through local iwi, the Defence Force and the volunteer coordination group.





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