Maritime NZ - Rena Disaster - 19 October- Rena survives the night
by Maritime NZ on 19 Oct 2011
Maritime NZ, on Wednesday 19 October, issued a media release/public notice in regard to the Rena Disaster updating on the situation and containing public information relating to the environmental disaster.
Rena Update (#34)
Rena’s bow section is now fractured and twisted after 13 days on the Astrolabe Reef. Maritime NZ www.maritimenz.govt.nz
Clean-up operations are underway along the eastern coastline today as some oil and debris has come ashore as far south as the East Cape.
National On Scene Commander Ian Niblock says that iwi support has been 'outstanding', with clean-up teams removing more weathered oil from the shoreline at Maketu and towards the East Cape today.
'We have been working collaboratively with shoreline clean-up assessment teams, the New Zealand Defence Force, iwi and community members, and the volunteer coordination group to action our clean-up plans.
'Like many factors in this response, we need to wait for the right conditions and have the right tools and knowledge in place before we can turn our plans into action on the ground.
'We have been focusing our clean-ups on the beaches before using various recovery methods on the rocky shoreline,' Mr Niblock says.
A coastal navigation warning regarding containers remains in force and includes the East Cape.
'Debris from containers is also expected to come ashore in the East Cape area, so we want people to please let us know if they come across this material. It’s important to note that effectively dealing with this material is a separate process from oil spill recovery from the shoreline, and needs to be handled by salvage experts who have the appropriate equipment and training to deal with it,' Mr Niblock says.
'Some of the material that strands may also be oiled, so again, we ask people to please not touch it, as it is hazardous, but to please report it to Maritime New Zealand on 0800 645 774 (0800 OIL SPILL).'
Mr Niblock says there will be specialist teams in the region tomorrow to assess and recover material that has come ashore.
Volunteers will also continue to be called upon to assist with shoreline clean up during the next few weeks, especially if
Rena releases more oil.
As oil and debris comes ashore along the east coast towards East Cape, it is important members of the public report dead or oiled wildlife (birds, mammals and fish) to the Oiled Wildlife Response Team on 0800 333 771.
Meanwhile, a team of four salvors is on board the vessel Rena ensuring operations will be set to resume when the weather conditions improve. The decision was made earlier today not to restart pumping oil off the Rena due to the rough weather and swell conditions.
Svitzer Salvage team leader Captain Drew Shannon says that time delays and associated challenges are a normal part of salvage operations.
'We use our time wisely. We try not to be impeded or frustrated by delays.
'Our team of salvors are carrying out preparatory work so that oil transfer can resume as soon as it is safely possible. We will take our salvors off the ship tonight and have them back on board in the morning if the weather allows us to safely do so,' Capt. Shannon says.
The Oiled Wildlife Response Team is looking at setting up a wildlife response staging area around Te Kaha tomorrow, to support roving response teams that are working right around the coast from Opotiki to Te Araroa.
Birds in care at the Wildlife Recovery Centre currently total 269, including 56 endangered NZ dotterels. These rare and precious birds have been picked pre-emptively in case of further oil coming ashore on their prime breeding habitat along the Bay of Plenty coast.
Rena Update (#33)
Salvors are now back on board the vessel Rena carrying out general assessments of the ship’s status. A team of three salvors re-boarded the ship this morning, however, swell and weather conditions have not been favourable for restarting pumping of from the ship.
MNZ Salvage Unit Manager Andrew Berry says aerial observations carried out this morning showed a very light sheen of oil moving away from the ship in a southerly direction.
'The bow section of Rena is still sitting firmly on the reef, however, movement from the heavy swell and tide action overnight has moved the stern section slightly further to the left.
'Booster pumps have now been installed on the vessel Rena and further pumps will also be added to speed up the rate of oil extraction. Salvors will recommence pumping when weather and swell conditions allow this to be done safely.
'Dive teams are putting plans in place to access the starboard number five tank. The priority however, remains the removal of fuel oil from the accessible port number five tank,' Mr Berry said.
National On Scene Commander Ian Niblock said a coastal navigation warning had been issued to include the East Cape, following the discovery of the oil-covered remains of containers that washed ashore at Te Kaha and Te Araroa this morning.
'Recovery teams have been sent to pick up this debris and it is possible that more debris may arrive. We are working closely with iwi in the area to coordinate the clean-up action taken.
'A forward-operating base established in Whakatane has been working on recovery plans for the affected eastern areas and clean-up crews have already received training and are on standby ready to assist,' Mr Niblock says.
The salvors are responsible for the recovery of containers and continue with their aerial mapping coverage and sea-based surveillance. Containers have been located at Motiti Island and White Island and debris found at Cape Runaway and Lottin Point this morning is in the process of being recovered.
New Zealand Defence Force is standing down some of its operations, as there have been no new spillages of oil or containers. They will remain on standby should the situation change.
The naval force will now consist of one inshore patrol vessel maintaining a presence within the maritime exclusion zone and a Seasprite SH2G helicopter for night operations, including search and rescue.
The land-based operation is focused on beach clean-up activity in the Harrison’s Cut area of Papamoa beach. There are also land-based support elements providing logistic and transport assistance to the operation.
The Royal New Zealand Air Force continues to provide an Iroquois helicopter for tasks such as transporting emergency response teams and equipment.
Shoreline clean-up assessment teams have identified small tar oiled patties at Moturiki (Leisure Island), Pukehina and Maketu spit. These will be collected.
Volunteer clean-up activity was scaled down yesterday due to weather conditions and the fact that beaches remain largely clear of oil. The clean-up effort has made a big difference to the surface oil on the beaches, but the next phase of clean-up work will be best left until the current band of poor weather passes.
Volunteers will continue to be called upon during the next few weeks, especially if Rena releases more oil.
The Wildlife Response Centre received 16 new intakes overnight, bringing the total number in care to 269.
The wildlife team thanks people who have knitted and sent in jumpers to clothe recovering little blue penguins. Facility manager Dr Brett Gartrell said the rehabilitation centre has now received enough jumpers and no more were needed.
Rena Update (#32)
There has been no report of any further movement from Rena overnight. However, salvage company experts will be flying out to the vessel about 7.30am to assess the situation.
Weather this morning is poor, with rough seas and a 1.5m swell, decreasing, and strong winds. This will impact upon salvage operations.
Sensors on board the vessel have detected no significant movement overnight, and salvors are working on a variety of plans to cover all eventualities, including if they are unable to get on board the vessel. This includes preparing additional work platforms and pumping equipment. Divers are also working on plans for accessing the starboard fuel tank of the vessel.
National On Scene Commander Ian Niblock says there have been no new reports overnight of oil on beaches, but teams will today clean up oil that came ashore late yesterday along a 3km stretch of beach near Harrison's Cut.
The oil-covered remains of a container have been washed ashore at Te Kaha and recovery teams have been sent to pick up this debris. Another has just been reported at Te Araroa this morning.
It's likely that there will be no other volunteer clean up today, given that beaches yesterday were largely clear of oil. However, volunteers are on standby and are ready to swing into action should they be needed.
There is no further update on wildlife numbers since last night. The Wildlife Response Centre received 18 new intakes yesterday, bringing the total number of animals being cared for to 253. Around 1,290 dead birds and 4 dead animals have been identified.
Note: It is critical to safe operations that the aerial and marine exclusion zone around Rena is observed and respected. Entering the exclusion zone can seriously impact on the recovery operation and put those working on salvaging the ship at risk. It is also an offence to enter the exclusion zone and anyone found breaching this zone could be fined up to $20,000. For details, visit http://www.boprc.govt.nz/news-centre/media-releases/october-2011/rena-exclusion-zone-extended/
The 10am ICC media briefing will go ahead as scheduled today.
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