Rena update (#205)

23 March 2012, 10:30am

A full team of 16 Svitzer salvors are on board Rena today, examining the damage resulting from Wednesday night's heavy weather event. It is likely to take some time to make this assessment.


  • Initial assessments confirm no further significant change in the state of the wreck.
  • There is currently a 2-3m swell around the Astrolabe Reef. These conditions mean it is impossible for the salvors to access the holds to assess how many containers were lost overboard on Wednesday night. They will do this as soon as conditions allow.
  • Conditions are forecast to continue easing today and remain calm over the weekend.
  • Smit Borneo is due to depart the port today to resume its position at Rena.
  • The amount of oil remaining on the wreck is estimated to be in the order of tens of tonnes. This oil is located in a number of different pockets throughout the wreck. Salvors will continue to strip oil from the wreck when they are able to access these pockets.
  • A total of 649 containers are now accounted for onshore. This comprises 575 containers removed from Rena by Svitzer salvors and 74 containers recovered from the sea and shoreline by Braemar Howells container recovery teams.

Container and debris recovery

  • The Braemar recovery team has successfully secured one container located at sea and recovered a large quantity of debris released from the wreck in the stormy conditions.
  • Braemar deployed a plane to search the coastal waters and number of vessels early yesterday morning. The debris collected, bags of milk powder and timber, virtually filled a 40 foot container being used for storage.
  • The recovery team say there were reports that two containers had been released, but only one with milk powder contents could be found. It was towed to an anchor point on the west side of Motiti Island and marked with a buoy.
  • Today the recovery team will focus on picking up remaining debris floating at the northern end of Motiti Island. Once this has been picked up, divers will be used to retrieve debris which has washed onto the northern tip of the island.
  • A survey of beaches between Mount Maunganui and the Kaituna Cut will also be carried out.

Oil spill response

  • A shoreline clean-up assessment technique (SCAT) team yesterday surveyed the beach from Mount Maunganui to Omanu following reports of small amounts of oil coming ashore. This was confirmed as small droplets of possibly fresh oil along the high tide mark. The team removed the larger deposits of oil – it is likely the smaller deposits will break down naturally in the tidal movement. The team will return to the same stretch of beach today to monitor the oil’s progress and assess whether further clean-up activity is required.
  • SCAT teams are heading to Maketu and Little Waihi this morning to assess whether any oil has reached shorelines there.
  • National On Scene Commander Rob Service said it was impossible to calculate exactly how much oil leaked during Wednesday’s heavy weather event, however, it was only a very small amount. While some of this oil appears to have reached the shoreline, it is unlikely to have a significant impact. The oil spill response team will closely monitor the situation over the weekend and remains ready to mount whatever response is necessary.
  • Members of the public are encouraged to call in any oil sightings to the oil spill response hotline on 0800 OIL SPILL (0800 645 774)

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