Tauranga incident response update

05 October 2011: 3.30pm

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) is putting contingency plans in place to manage any potential risks arising from the grounding of a vessel near Tauranga.

MNZ advised this morning that the 236m cargo vessel Rena had struck the Astrolabe Reef, near Tauranga Harbour, around 2.20am. There are no reported injuries to the 25 crew on board.

The Astrolabe Reef is about 4 nautical miles north of Motiti Island (about 12 nautical miles off the coast).

MNZ activated its Maritime Incident Response Team (MIRT), which is made up of maritime experts who are providing technical advice and oversight of the situation.

While a light sheen of oil has been identified around the vessel, it has been assessed as hydraulic oil from the engine and does not pose a significant environmental risk at this point.

MNZ’s Marine Pollution Response Service (MPRS) is setting up an incident command centre in Tauranga, staffed with around 25 members of the National Response Team.

The National Response Team (NRT) is made up of oil spill response specialists from around the country and in the event of a significant spill from the ship, would lead the response.

MIRT incident controller Renny van der Velde said the plans being put in place by the oil spill response team will form a safety net in the event of any spilled oil.

“While the aim is to remove the vessel with no oil spilled, it is important to have contingency plans in place in case something goes wrong.”

The vessel owner is responsible for coordinating a salvage plan.

Wildlife experts from Massey University have also headed to Tauranga to support the NRT and prepare contingency plans to manage any risk to wildlife.

MNZ is also working with the Department of Conservation (DoC), which advises there are no immediate concerns for marine life. DoC has staff available to respond if required.

Please see incident page for more information, questions and answers, fly-over images of the site and information on New Zealand’s oil spill response system.

For further information contact:
Maritime New Zealand Media Line
Phone 04 499 7318


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