The latest update from Maritime NZ on the Rena Disaster – New Zealand’s worst maritime pollution disaster.
Despite working in winds occasionally gusting above 40 knots, salvors have today removed 15 containers from the stern of the cargo vessel Rena, taking the total number of containers removed to 64.
Maritime New Zealand Salvage Unit Manager Arthur Jobard said the salvage team had done well to remove so many containers in at times gusty conditions.
“Work did stop at intervals yesterday and today due to occasional bouts of high winds,” Mr Jobard said.
“But they have still managed to remove a good number of containers, which is excellent.”
Mr Jobard said containers landing ashore at the Port of Tauranga were being efficiently processed by the container recovery company Braemar Howells.
“Two of the refrigerated containers that held the remains of rotting food came ashore today and Braemar Howells was able to process these and dispose of the contents within two hours.
“That’s excellent progress – the contents of the refrigerated containers are quite nasty and it’s good to see them move these through the process quickly.”
Mr Jobard said oil was still being skimmed from the starboard number 5 fuel oil tank as it reached the hot taps.
National On Scene Commander Alex van Wijngaarden said warm water washing was done on the Mount today to remove residual oil from the rocks.
“Today’s warm water washing trial has gone very well,” Captain van Wijngaarden said.
“Following the good results we have seen from this, we will be doing more of this work over the next few days.”
The operations team has also been involved in a presentation on mechanical beach grooming on Matakana Island today.
A key focus is tomorrow’s milestone release of around 60 little blue penguins at Mount Maunganui.
Final health checks and micro-chipping of the birds due to be released were underway at the oiled wildlife facility.
Captain van Wijngaarden said the release was keenly anticipated by the entire oil spill response team.
“This is a day we have all been working towards since the clean-up began. The wildlife team has been tireless in their work to support and nurture these animals.
“We’re thrilled to have reached the point where we can begin releasing these birds back into the wild, where they belong.”
Members of the public keen to be involved in the ongoing beach clean-ups are encouraged to support the community ‘Adopt-a-Beach’ initiative, in which Operation Beach Clean volunteers band together to maintain and monitor high-use areas of beach.