Accomodation block to be removed from Rena

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A decision has been made by the owner and insurer of the Rena to remove the wreck's submerged accommodation section.

The four storey block contained the crew quarters, galley, administration offices and living areas, as well as the bridge and navigational equipment.

Captain John Owen of the Swedish Club said there was no material in the block which could be harmful but he reconised the importance of minimising the impact on the community.

"We appreciate that the accommodation section would have been of interest to recreational divers, and our initial approach was to consider leaving it as part of the wreck after making it safer for divers," he said.

"However we could not tell how long it would stay in that condition before the effects of wave action and the strong currents caused it to deteriorate and become a hazard to their safety."

The operation is expected to take up to 80 days, including 40 days allowance for poor weather and sea conditions. Cutting is expected to begin in October following the arrival of an additional crane barge from Singapore.

Once each section is cut away, it will be lifted onto a third barge for transport to Port of Tauranga. Once in Port the sections will be dismantled for scrap and, where possible, recycling.

A team of smaller craft will be stationed at the reef to collect any debris released during the removal operation, to prevent material reaching the shore. During the dismantling phase steps will be in place to prevent any discharges into the environment.

Resolve will begin preparing the accommodation block in August or September. In the meantime they will continue with the work to reduce the bow section where the ship ran aground near the highest part of the reef.

All of the bow section that was above the water line has now been removed and the aim is to reduce it down to at least 1 metre below the lowest tide mark. Resolve is also working to recover container wreckage and other cargo from the debris field between the stern and bow sections, of which 650 tonnes has already been removed.

Debris from cargo hold four is being removed to allow access to two containers of plastic beads originally at the bottom of that hold. Both containers have been located, in a damaged condition; one has been emptied completely and the other container is being worked on at present.

Dive surveys of cargo holds five and six will then be conducted to try and locate and identify the state of four other containers of interest.

 

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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