Rena update (update 16)

14 October 2011: 7.00am

National On Scene Commander Nick Quinn says his team is in good shape and remains committed to getting the job done as the Rena response enters its second week.

"I can tell by the activity and mood of our Incident Command Centre that our resolve is strong and morale is high.

"We are now coordinating a team of around 1000 people involved in operations on land, sea and air and covering areas like field operations, planning, logistics, wildlife recovery and community and iwi liaison. Everyone is working extremely hard to help out.

"Many have been here since the start and have put in some massive hours so we are looking to bring new people in to give others a break.

"We have a long road ahead of us so must ensure we maintain our maximum capability and capacity to respond," Mr Quinn says.

Clean Up Operations

  • A total of 95.45 tonnes of solid waste and 6 tonnes of liquid waste was taken to the transfer station by 5pm yesterday. The waste is being collected by two companies working through a consented waste management plan.
  • It expected that there will be in excess of 1000 people collecting oil from the beaches today, targeting the Papamoa and Mount areas. This includes many of the more than 2000 people that had registered by yesterday.
  • There are approximately 60 kilometres of oiled coastline, from Maketu to Mount Maunganui. The oiling ranges in severity.
  • Predicted westerly winds will push oil away from the beaches today but will extend the area of the oil spill response out to the east.
  • Beach access has been restricted between Mount Maunganui to Maketu Point, including the Maketu Estuary. This is to minimise as much as possible further environmental damage.

Salvage

  • Salvage teams have worked overnight to build a platform, which they intend to attach to the port side of the vessel today. They will then use this platform to assist fuel recovery operations.
  • Two teams of three will be winched on to the vessel this morning. Evacuation teams remain on standby to evacuate these teams if required. It is a challenging and potentially dangerous job – but the salvage team we have is the best in the world and they have human safety as their number one priority.
  • There is a strong wind warning advisory in place and the westerly is expected to increase to 25-30 knots, this may hamper salvage operations.
  • There has been no reported change to the Rena’s state overnight.

Containers

  • 88 containers have been reported to have fallen off the ship. 20 of these have come ashore.
  • The salvage company, Svitzer is responsible for collecting the containers in the water. They report they have identified 35 of these, and 14 have been recovered.
  • Members of the public should not touch containers that reach the shore, or any of the goods that have come free from the containers.

Volunteers

  • More than 2000 people have registered through the new website set up yesterday www.boprc.govt.nz/oilspillvolunteers. This equates to about 200 people registering per hour. People can also register to volunteer at the Omanu and Mount Maunganui surf clubs.
  • Volunteer coordinators at the incident command centre are working through a plan to roster these volunteers so their assistance can be used effectively.
  • The first of these volunteers will be out on the beaches today after receiving a briefing this morning at Omanu Surf Club. 

Wildlife

  • There were 140 people in the field yesterday (Thursday) covering 80 kilometres of coastline.
  • There were 10 live oiled birds found, bringing the total number of oiled live birds in the facility to 51.
  • There were five dotterels pre-emptively caught yesterday, taking the total to 13 dotterels in captivity. None of these are oiled.
  • There are only about 1500 dotterels in existence. A special aviary is being built at the wildlife facility to cater to the needs of these rare birds. The team is catching adult birds. They can live for 25 years and although eggs are being abandoned they will be able to breed again next year. Any chicks will be recovered.
  • On Motiti Island, eight little blue penguins were found including three chicks. The chicks are safe with no oiling, and are being taken to the wildlife centre where a creche is being set up for them.
  • A total of 500 dead birds had been identified by yesterday afternoon.

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


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