Please select your home edition
Edition
Auckland On Water Boat Show

Predicted heavy winds could trigger container ship breakup

by Richard Gladwell on 8 Oct 2011
The Rena is expected to take heavier seas, after the wind changes on Tuesday Bay of Plenty Times
Strong onshore winds are expected on Tuesday and Wednesday on the Bay of Plenty coast where the container ship Rena lies stuck on Astrolabe Reef.

At today's media conference several speakers alluded stronger winds being expected on Monday, but did not elaborate, instead pushing the line that oil recovery could start late Sunday (NZT) and could be completed before winds increase.

The latest prognosis from www.predictwind.com!Predictwind shows winds increasing in strength to 20-25kts on Monday from a NNE direction.

At this stage the winds are predicted to increase further on Tuesday, initially from a more northerly direction before swinging back through the east on Wednesday.

Of equal concern is the sea state which will see the area hit by waves predicted to increase from the current two-three feet from an offshore direction to over eight feet from a variety of onshore directions.

The Rena ran aground on the Astolabe Reef, off Tauranga Harbour, on the east coast of New Zealand, on Wednesday morning. So far over 20 tonnes of oil has leaked from her into pristine waters which form some of New Zealand's best cruising grounds, as well as having serious implications for fish, birds, whales and dolphins and other wildlife.

A massive clean up operation is in the process of being established in anticipation of a major oil leak from the ship, which has been likened to have the potential ecological impact of several times that of the Queensland disaster of 2009 when only 230 tonne s of oil were spilled.


Salvage experts told today's media conference that the Rena, a 236 metre fully laden container ship with 25 Philippine crew, had her bow locked on the reef, while her stern sections were free floating. She has 1700 tonnes of heavy fuel oil aboard.

They also revealed that her double bottom, while intact at the stern was badly crushed at the bow.

Experts have been surveying the stricken ship, which is Liberian registered and 20 years old, and reported that while there had been some flexing of the ship, there was no deformation of the hull plates at the hinge point - where the floating aft section met the wedged forward section of her hull.

That situation while encouraging, must be read against the background that the seas she is currently experiencing are from bow-on, while when the wind changes and increases in strength the seas will increase substantially and hit the floating aft section first, putting substantially more strain on the vessel.


The increased wind and sea state is caused by a intense low pressure system which will move down the east coast of New Zealand on Tuesday and Wednesday bringing a change in the flat water conditions that have existed since the container ship grounded on Wednesday.

The change in the wind and sea state will substantially increase the chance of the Rena breaking her back. It will also delay any container lifting activity, and will probably impact the offloading of her 1700tonnes of heavy fuel oil.


Today the salvage experts announced a three stage plan to remove the Rena from the Astralobe Reef. The first stage was the removal of the fuel oil, the second was removal of sufficient containers to lighten the ship, and the third was to pull her off the reef.

While it may be possible to remove the fuel oil before the winds increase in strength, it was emphasised that the 11 degree list of the ship would make it very difficult to lift containers off. Additionally because the ship is so laden with containers it is hard to find a space to lower necessary fuel pumping gear on board.

At this point, the intention is to place various vessels around the Rena and use these variously to take oil aboard and also containers which are intended to be lifted by helicopter. However those activities were predicated on the current sea state, and were described as 'complex'. The increased sea state would probably make any work impossible until winds dropped on Thursday - assuming the ship survives intact until then.

The plan is to have a vessel tethered astern to take the offloaded oil, and to transfer this to a larger oil ship. It is not known if the www.lander.co.nz!Lancer inflatable barges capable of taking 100tonnes of oil each would be deployed. maritime New Zealand owns two of the 100tonne barges, which can be used in a heavy sea state for oil collection and transfer.

Salvage experts had opted to tow the collection vessel to the storage vessel for offloading rather than have a longer and slower trip to Tauranga for offloading.

If additional inflatable barges are required there are many around the world, lancer Technical Director Ronald Winstone told Sail-World earlier today. 'We supplied 62 x 100tonne (100,000 litre) barges to the US Coastguard', he said. '100tonnes is the largest barge that is recommended as it becomes better to have 2 x 100 tonne barges than 1 x 200 tonne. By having two, one is filling as one is offloading. '


'The barges are ideally suited for offloading in the conditions being experienced at the moment.

'The first option is to put the barges alongside the ship and allow the ship to use it's pumps to offload. The ship is unlikely to have hoses to transfer the oil from their internal pipes into the barge, but hoses can be helicoptered on board the ship. The ship has already said that it's pumps have moved the oil from some tanks to other safer tanks.

'If the ship is unable to connect its plumbing to hoses, then it is possible to drop a pump onto its deck.

'To set up a pump on board is relatively easy, especially where the ship is in a relatively safe position.

'The barges can be moored alongside, or tethered off 25 metres or more. The hose can be fed out over the water, in the same way that is done when the barge is operating with a skimmer.

'The important point of the Inflatable Barge is that it is very compact when deflated and can be transported to the site very easily. Once at the site it can be operational in 1 hour. It can be towed empty at 10kts and full at 4 - 5 knots,' Winstone added.

The next update is expected Sunday afternoon at 1530hrs.

Rena Saturday press conference from Sun Live on Vimeo.



Rena run aground from Sun Live on Vimeo.

InSunSport - NZNewport Boat Show 2016 660x82Zhik ZKG 660x82

Related Articles

Dateline Rio - Sailing Olympics review - as good as it gets?
The Rio Sailing Olympics was widely judged to have been the best of recent times. The Rio Sailing Olympics was widely judged to have been the best of recent times. The weather was better than Weymouth and Qingdao, the courses more varied, but from a working media perspective, it was the people running the Rio regatta who really made the difference.
Posted on 26 Aug
Rio 2016 - Plain speaking by triple-medalist on Olympic sailing moves
Triple Olympic medalist, Santiago Lange has been on the sharp end of changes made to Olympic classes and formats Santiago Lange, a six-time Olympian and Bronze medallist in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, won his third medal – Gold sailing in the Nacra 17 class. With that length of experience at an Olympic level, having sailed the Laser, Tornado and now Nacra 17 classes his comments on the future shape of the Olympic regatta was one of the highlights of the Medallists Media Conferences.
Posted on 25 Aug
An Q&A with Steve and Heidi Benjamin about the NYYC’s 2016 Queen’s Cup
Sail-World caught up with Steve and Heidi Benjamin to learn more about Heidi’s historic win in the NYYC’s Queen’s Cup. When it comes to U.S. Grand Prix sailing, it’s hard not to encounter the names of Steve and Heidi Benjamin. The two highly polished sailors have been successfully campaigning their series of yachts, named SPOOKIE, for years, starting first with a Carkeek 40 and progressing to their TP52. I caught up with Steve and Heidi to learn more about Heidi’s historic win in the NYYC’s Queen’s Cup
Posted on 19 Aug
Rio 2016 - Images of the penultimate race in the Finns - Scott wins
Sail-World's Richard Gladwell was on the water for the final race of the Qualifying Series of the Mens Finn Sail-World's Richard Gladwell was on the water for the final race of the Qualifying Series of the Mens Finn, in what potentially could have been Giles Scott's (GBR) Gold medal winning race. In the end, the current world champion won in style.
Posted on 15 Aug
Rio 2016 - Images from the Mens RS:X Medal Race
Sail-World's NZ Editor, Richard Gladwell, was on the water at the Medal Race for the RS:X class Sail-World's NZ Editor, Richard Gladwell, was on the water at the Medal Race for the RS:X class won before the race by Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED) without needing points from the Medal Race. Nick Dempsey (GBR) was second on a similar basis.
Posted on 15 Aug
Rio 2016 - Sailors talk of Life at the Extreme on the Atlantic Ocean
Certainly the Volvo Ocean Race catchcry of Life at the Extreme is not a phrase associated with the Sailing Olympics. The 470 crews were suffering the mixed emotions of survival of an extreme test by nature, the cold, and for some elation at their placings, after Thursday's battle for survival. In conditions that looked more out of the Volvo Ocean Race, than an Olympic sailing regatta, crews battled 20kt plus winds and Atlantic Ocean rollers that towered up to four metres.
Posted on 13 Aug
Rio Olympics - Fourth gallery of images the fearsome Niteroi course
Fourth image gallery from racing on Day 4 in the Mens and Womens 470 class on the Niteroi course in the Atlantic Ocean Fourth image gallery from racing on Day 4 in the Mens and Womens 470 class on the Niteroi course in the Atlantic Ocean - sailing in 3-4 metre swells and 20kt plus winds. believe it or not the sea conditions were worse inshore as the fleet encountered the backwashed Atlantic rollers
Posted on 12 Aug
Rio 2016 - Third image gallery of 470's braving the Atlantic Ocean
Third image gallery from racing on Day 4 in the Mens and Womens 470 class on the Niteroi course in the Atlantic Ocean Third image gallery from racing on Day 4 in the Mens and Womens 470 class on the Niteroi course in the Atlantic Ocean - sailing in 3-4 metre swells and 20kt plus winds
Posted on 12 Aug
Gladwell's Line - The challenges of Guanbara Bay
The decision to run Medal Racing on the Pao de Acucer course, probably won't be remembered as one of the brightest The decision to run Medal Racing on the Pao de Acucer, probably won't be remembered as one of the brightest of the 2016 Sailing Olympics. Over shadowed by a 1300ft tall granite and quartz mountain in the shape of a sugarloaf, the bay suffers from dramatic windshifts, and huge variance in wind pressure.
Posted on 11 Aug
Rio 2016 - Fresher breezes expected inside and outside on Day 3
Stronger winds are expected for the third day of racing in the 2016 Olympic Sailing Regatta in Rio de Janeiro. Stronger winds are expected for the third day of racing in the 2016 Olympic Sailing Regatta in Rio de Janeiro. Two of the fleet scheduled to race outside on the Atlantic Ocean course off Copacabana Beach, while the 470 Men and Women will race inside on Guananara Bay.
Posted on 10 Aug