Now Stranded Whales Near Rena, 1 Dies


Two Gray’s beaked whales and a juvenile whale this afternoon stranded at Papamoa.

Stranded Gray’s Beaked Whale stranded at Papamoa Beach | Ross Brown

National Oiled Wildlife Response Team Manager Brett Gartrell said none of the mammals had suffered oiling from the Rena oil spill - but that the juvenile whale had died, with its cause of death being investigated by a wildlife pathologist.

The two adult whales were being refloated by Department of Conservation staff with assistance from trained volunteers.

DOC staff & volunteers try to refloat stranded Gray’s Beaked Whale | Ross Brown

Meanwhile diggers are preparing a ramp for trucks at the north end of Papamoa beach so containers can be removed.

RENA CONTAINERS: Building a ramp for them | MNZ

The latest from the Rena is that 2 of the five fuel tanks on the Rena are now empty and pumping is continuing from tanks in the engine room.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated incident, at 10.30am today the container ship Schelde Trader lost power while leaving Tauranga Harbour and struck rocks near the entrance. It has now been towed into the harbour.

There were no reports of injuries, serious damage or oil leaks and the event had no impact on the Rena operation.

Salvage Unit Manager Kenny Crawford said the 25-tonne port service tank had been emptied and almost all of the 770 tonnes from the port number five tank had been removed. More than half of the oil from one of the two settling tanks in the engine room has been pumped into the barge Awanuia, bringing the total oil removed from the Rena to 882 tonnes.

“Emptying two of the tanks is a significant milestone, given the state of the Rena,” said Mr Crawford.

“Almost 900 tonnes of oil has been removed now and hopefully by the end of tomorrow the salvors will have emptied the two settling tanks as well.

“The salvors are also making good progress on accessing the starboard number five tank, which is under water. The divers have created the first half of the coffer dam that will seal off the entrance to the tank, and are now working on the second half.

“Once this is done, they can begin pumping out the water and opening the hatch. It’s hard, difficult and dangerous work for the divers who are working in oily water with little light.”

National On Scene Commander Nick Quinn said while the main Mt Manganui Beach down to Tay St would remain open this weekend, other local beaches would remain closed for the time being, as old oil continued to remobilise in the environment and come ashore, where it would be cleaned up.

Volunteer coordinator Pim de Monchy appealed for a big turnout of volunteers new and old for beach clean up operations over the weekend. Volunteer clean ups would continue tomorrow (Saturday) with one at the Papamoa Surf Club, another opposite the Logan Road beach access, Papamoa, and a third at the corner of Kulim Avenue and Harbour Drive, Otumoetai, all beginning at noon. Information

In total, the National Oiled Wildlife Response Centre now has 388 live birds in its care.

This includes the 60 New Zealand dotterels that were caught pre-emptively.

Today there are:
Clean wildlife: 60 NZ dotterels, 1 tern, 3 pied shags and 265 Little blue penguins
Oiled wildlife: 58 little blue penguins, 1 shearwater




  1. Andy says:

    Jeez, the drama never ends does it.


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