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Rena update #229

3 August 2012

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) continues to liaise with US salvors Resolve, appointed by the Rena’s owners and insurers to undertake wreck removal work.

Braemar Update
  • With sea conditions remaining too rough for marine operations, Braemar Howells clean up teams have been hard at work tackling the fresh debris swept ashore on the Coromandel Peninsula in particular.
  • Braemar Operations Manager Neil Lloyd says it has been the most prolonged  weather event encountered since the project began. The stormy conditions have had a “significant impact” on the Coromandel and Matakana Island.
  • Over the past week more than 100 bags of waste have been collected from Coromandel beaches and coast. Plastic beads, refrigerated container foam and other flotsam has been picked up. Clean-up teams have also investigated reports of beads swept ashore in other areas.
  • “One or two have proved to be false, such as at Mount Maunganui where the beads proved to be plant seeds, which have apparently come from some of the dune vegetation.”
  • Mr Lloyd says that good progress has been made cleaning up the section of beach on Matakana Island that’s crucial to the dotterel nesting season. “We hope to have this stretch clear by early next week, in our efforts to minimise disturbance of this important breeding colony.”
  • The rough seas have forced a halt to work on pre-rigging submerged containers lying on the seabed around the Rena wreck site.
  • Mr Lloyd says that an ROV (remote operated vehicle) was deployed underwater yesterday but the work had to be abandoned due to poor visibility which was down to about 500mm, the worst encountered to date. It’s hoped that this work can resume early next week when the seas have settled, he says.
  • Although most of Braemar’s fleet has been port-bound, patrols have continued at the wreck site. The two-nautical mile exclusion zone remains in place, monitored 24-7. And it is somewhat reassuring that an observation flight over the wreck found no sign of any fresh releases, he says.
  • Mr Lloyd says that “while the owners and insurers have completed their visit the Bay of Plenty, they are still closely monitoring our operations and instructing us accordingly.”
  • Braemar Howells’ Managing Director Simon Rickaby, who is in Tauranga on one of his regular visits, says he “shares the frustration of the Braemar guys and the Unimar crews on the vessels. The weather has been so bad that it’s simply been unsafe to go out and work at the wreck site.”
  • “We’ve been recovering debris for some time from beaches, but areas cleared earlier, have been impacted again. It is heart-breaking for clean-up teams on the job to have to start on the tedious task all over again.”
  • Mr Rickaby complimented the dedication and perseverance that both marine and shoreline teams have applied to their respective tasks.
  • They have well illustrated, to the owners and insurers, who have been here recently, the overall care and professionalism in place working with the local communities, MNZ and Bay of Plenty authorities. I am very proud of them.”
Oil spill response
  • The oil spill response has been reduced from a Tier 3, or national level, to Tier 2, or regional level, response. Any queries about the oil spill response should now be directed to the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

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

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