Rena Oil Back On Cleaned Beaches


Clean-up crews are heading to beaches in the Bay of Plenty this morning to begin clearing further oil that was exposed after high tide.

National On Scene Commander Nick Quinn said Shoreline Clean-up Assessment Teams around the coastline have identified fresh oiling around Mount Maunganui and Leisure Island, as well as along the closed section of beach between Tay Street and Maketu Spit.

“This looks like oil that was buried under the sand during the rough weather that occurred a couple of weeks ago.

“The movement of tides and sand has brought it again to the surface, and so we now have a new layer of oil to remove.”

Mr Quinn said the oil had settled in a band along the high tide line and up towards the dunes.

Mr Quinn said the reappearance of oil on the freshly cleaned beaches was not unexpected.

“Experience has shown us that this is what shoreline clean-up looks like. Beaches get cleaned, oil is revealed by tides or weather, and they need to be cleaned again.”

A call-out to volunteers has been made, with the Volunteer Coordination Team looking for around 200 people to carry out a beach clean at Papamoa.

RENA OIL SPILL: Volunteers assembling to clean the beach | MNZ

Mr Quinn said the oil spill response team was trialling beach clean-up machinery which would supplement the human effort.

However, he said beach cleaning machines had their limitations and the bulk of the work would be done through hard physical labour.

“Beach cleaning machines may be another asset in the toolbox. However, we have to be careful that we don’t push the oil further into the sand by using heavy machinery. The machine’s effectiveness also varies according to the characteristics of the oil in the sand.

“The reality is this is slow, painstaking work. We really must pay tribute to the volunteers who are cleaning these beaches inch by inch.

Mr Quinn said New Zealand Defence Force personnel were also conducting clean-up operations around the Bay of Plenty.

The salvage team continued pumping oil from the Rena overnight. Fuel transfer from the port number 5 tank stopped for a few hours yesterday afternoon while the pump was moved further into the tank.

Accessing Rena by rope ladder | Svitzer

Work is continuing to establish a fuel transfer system from the engine room tanks into the tug Go Canopus.

Last night it was reported on AKT 650 tonnes of oil was left on board the Rena but a very tricky part of the pumping operation is to begin.





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