Rena pumping continues

A member of the salvage crew, Drew Shannon. Photo / Alan Gibson
A member of the salvage crew, Drew Shannon. Photo / Alan Gibson

Salvors continued pumping oil from the stricken Rena overnight, and the weather is looking good for them to continue today, Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) says.

The Rena container ship has been stuck on Astrolabe Reef off the Tauranga Coast since October 5.

Some 350 tonnes of oil has leaked from the vessel into the Bay of Plenty and 88 containers have been lost overboard.

MNZ Salvage Unit Manager Bruce Anderson said predicted bad weather overnight had not eventuated so salvors were able to continue pumping.

"The flow is still slow but at least we are seeing a continuous pumping operation - this was the first priority for the team and that has been maintained,'' Mr Anderson said.

"The focus for today will be to get more salvors on board and work on speeding up the flow rate.''

By yesterday afternoon, 171 tonnes of the 772 tonnes in the port number five tank on the Rena had been transferred to the tanker Awanuia.

The Rena had had no "significant'' oil leaks since October 11, national on scene commander Captain Alex van Wijngaarden said.

"This means the oil we are seeing on the coastline is remobilised - oil that has washed out and back again with the tide,'' he said.

"The oil spill response team is continuing to monitor and map the progress of this oil, while clean-up teams are out on the beaches cleaning and re-cleaning.''

Oil-covered debris was coming ashore at natural collection points in the eastern Bay of Plenty, and this was also a focus area for clean-up crews.

Mount Maunganui beach from the base track through to Tay Street was open but Capt van Wijngaarden urged caution.

"While the beach has been cleaned and re-cleaned, there is still residual oil in the environment and the water. Please use caution and follow advice from public health authorities,'' he said.

- APNZ

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