Editorial: Rena wreck must go

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It's been more than 18 months since Rena smashed on to Astrolabe Reef.

Salvors have been trying to remove every visible trace above the waterline by removing more than 1000 tonnes of the ship's rusted shell but the doomed vessel's legacy on the mainland lives on.

Yesterday's Bay of Plenty Times reported countless plastic beads washed up on the beaches from Mount Maunganui to Maketu after the weekend's bad weather. At least 76 bags were recovered.

Salvors knew the rain was coming and desperately tried to secure the broken container the beads were in.

Residents and locals spoken to by this paper say the incident demonstrates why the whole wrecked ship must go.

The wreck's future remains unclear.

The ship's owner and insurer say leaving it behind is still the preferred option. Representatives of The Swedish Club, the insurer for owner Daina Shipping Company, have held public meetings, focus groups and marae visits to explain their stance.

They have indicated they may seek resource consent so this can happen.

I can see why they would want this. It is a hugely complex, demanding and dangerous job to totally remove it and there may well be some environmental impact.

But does this mean leaving it there is the right thing to do?

I thought Buddy Mikaere, a local environmental consultant we spoke to in a news feature on Rena last month, summed it up accurately: Leaving Rena on the reef is like crashing a car on to someone's front lawn and leaving it there to rot.

Rena is not a natural part of our local environment and having beads washing up is not normal either.

The owners have to take full responsibility - and full responsibility means removing all the remains and paying all the costs.

Daina does not own our waters, the reef or our coastline and has no right to expect us to accept anything but full removal.

Rena must go and it will be wrong if the company successfully gets permission to leave it there.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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