Encouraging public response to dealing with the Rena

The Bay of Plenty community's feedback on the options for dealing with the Rena wreck is valuable, says Captain John Owen of insurer, the Swedish Club.

Preliminary assessments were presented at two public Open Days during the past week and Captain Owen also held meetings with a range of community leaders and organisations.

"We've been listening carefully and are gaining a good understanding of the community's views and concerns. This will help to inform our decision-making as we complete our assessments over the coming months," he said.

The information presented at the Open Days is also available at a dedicated website, www.renaproject.co.nz, and many locals have used the website to become informed and provide feedback. But Captain Owen urged more people to log on and have their say by reviewing the material and filling out the online feedback form.

"The more people share with us what they think should be done with the wreck, the more informed a final decision will be," he said. "We expect the final assessments, including diver surveys of the stern section, to be completed over the coming months, after which further public consultation will be held, most likely in February.

"The final studies are significant because they will provide a more comprehensive picture of the status of the cargo and debris in the stern section and the impacts around the reef," Captain Owen added.

Three options are under consideration: full wreck removal to the extent this is practicable; leaving it as is once the salvors have finished reducing the bow section to below the waterline; removing or securing any hazardous cargo to make the wreck as safe as practicable.

"It's important the Bay of Plenty community has all the information we can provide, to help us make the right decisions about what to do with the wreck," he said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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