Large swells delay Rena salvage operations

File photo / Alan Gibson
File photo / Alan Gibson

Large swells and windy conditions have again put Rena container salvage operations on hold.

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) said today's (Monday's) weather was marginal for safe operations, and container removal activity today was unlikely.

The cargo vessel ran aground on Astrolabe Reef off the coast of Tauranga on October 5, spilling tonnes of oil and dozens of containers into the ocean.

The oil has been successfully pumped off the tilted vessel, and salvors are removing stacks of containers from the ship.

It is the second day in a row salvors are unable to remove containers, as unstable weather conditions yesterday hampered the team's efforts.

A total of 13 containers were removed on Saturday and 15 on Friday, meaning a total of 195 containers have so far been removed from the wreck, said MNZ.

Salvors will today focus on installing patches in the corridors of the wreck to improve buoyancy, said MNZ.

Today's forecast is for continuing showers and patchy rain with light bursts of wind. More of the same drizzly rain is forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday.

An overhead flight of Rena this morning showed a visible metallic sheen of oil about 4.5km long from the vessel, MNZ said.

A beach cleaning team is working today at Shark Alley and Leisure Island to remove small amounts of oil sighted in the area, and teams are continuing work on the north and western sides of Motiti Island and Maketu Spit.

Clean up teams are also working at Kulim and Fergusson Parks and Matakana Island, while warm water rock washing continues at Mauao.

A total of 967 tonnes of solid waste had been collected so far, MNZ said.

- APNZ

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