Rena update (update 162)

13 January 2012, 5:00pm

Aerial observation flights and a visit to Rena today by Svitzer salvors confirm no change to the state of the wreck.


  • Aerial observation flights and a visit to Rena today by Svitzer salvors confirm no change to the state of the wreck.
  • Rough sea conditions around Astrolabe Reef, with maximum wave heights of between 4-5m, are expected to subside over the weekend, with wave heights of less than 1m forecast for Sunday.
  • Svitzer is planning to take the crane barge Smit Borneo out to the reef this afternoon if weather conditions permit. They will then position the barge over the weekend.
  • The Svitzer salvage dive team is on standby to go down and assess the condition of the submerged stern, when conditions allow. The current sea state, combined with the dangerous state of the wreck, is preventing dive operations at this stage. The dive inspection will confirm the state of the stern, and identify any underwater obstructions, which will guide the next steps in the salvage operation.

Container recovery

  • Braemar Howells container recovery teams are continuing operations at sea as long as weather conditions permit.
  • On shore, Braemar Howells teams have sent assessment teams to Matata following reports of debris coming ashore along the coast there.
  • Shoreline container and debris recovery teams have also been working on Waihi Beach, at Mount Maunganui and Motītī Island today.
  • People sighting containers or debris are urged to please report it to 0800 333 771.

Oil spill response

  • Observation flights today have confirmed the rough seas around Rena have broken up the sheen around the wreck and there is currently no visible oil at the wreck site.
  • Shoreline clean-up assessment teams have been on beaches east of Maketu but have found no evidence of fresh oil.
  • Trajectory modelling shows any oil in the water is likely to reach beaches east of Maketu. However, observation flights today have not located any visible patches of oil making their way in this direction.
  • Oil spill response teams remain ready to respond to any fresh oil coming ashore.
  • There have been unconfirmed reports of some fresh oil reaching Motiti Island today – shoreline clean-up assessment teams are going to Motiti tomorrow to follow up these reports.
  • Protective booms remain in place at Maketu, Little Waihi, and Waihatanui.
  • Oil spill response teams have been working at Mount Maunganui, Leisure Island and Matakana Island today.
  • Shoreline clean-up assessment teams have identified fresh oil at Papamoa East. The team has recorded small spots of oil measuring between .1 and 2cm and stretching over 2km of coastline.
  • Shoreline clean-up assessment teams will be back at Papamoa East tomorrow assessing how best to clean the oil.
  • There are currently 10 oiled little blue penguins and four grey faced petrels which have lost their waterproof coating in care at the Te Maunga facility. Of these, six penguins and two petrels have been stabilised sufficiently to be transported to Massey University in Palmerston North for cleaning and rehabilitation tonight. They will be returned to the Bay of Plenty when they are healthy and their habitats are ready to receive them.
  • The wildlife facility will be expanded to provide for cleaning and rehabilitation if the numbers of birds being collected increase.
  • A total of 58 dead oiled birds have been collected since the beginning of the week.
  • Members of the public wanting to assist with the clean-up should visit
  • Beach-goers concerned about the safety of swimming should refer to the local surf lifesaving club for guidance. The surf lifesavers regularly undertake detailed assessments of their stretches of beach and are best placed to offer advice on safe areas for swimming. When in doubt, swim between the flags.

There is a community briefings tomorrow for Matata: 10am at the Matata Rugby Club, 12 Division Street.

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