Rena disaster creates big business for BOP firms

By Sam Boyer of the Bay of Plenty Times -
Marty Bourke and John Kelly of Hose Supplies have been 
busy supplying Rena salvors with equipment. Photo / Joel Ford, Bay of Plenty Times
Marty Bourke and John Kelly of Hose Supplies have been busy supplying Rena salvors with equipment. Photo / Joel Ford, Bay of Plenty Times

The spilled oil from the Rena has ruined the beginning of spring commerce for many Bay of Plenty businesses but for some local companies the stricken ship has proven an unexpected blessing.

While many businesses have been damaged by the Rena oil crisis, a silver lining has emerged for certain industries involved in the wreck.

Hotels, restaurants and helicopter charters have had an unforeseen up-turn in seasonal expectations as salvage crews and media swarm for somewhere to sleep or eat and the best film shot.

And one Mount Maunganui company has particularly benefited from their crucial involvement in the salvage process.

Hose Supplies has provided all of the hoses for the pumping of oil from the Rena to the bunker barge Awanuia.

Operations manager John Kelly said that since the Rena ran aground nearly four weeks ago, the company has been busy.

"We have been supplying lots and lots of hoses and a whole lot of valves, manifolds, floating hoses. A bit of everything. It's been crazy.

"Everything's changing every day. We've done hundreds of hours of overtime," he said.

"From the minute we rub something off the [operations planning] board, we write something else up. We've been quite lucky."

Branch manager Marty Bourke said the task of keeping the salvors pumping has become a massive job for the company.

"We've drained all the stock locally and almost all nationally.

"Now we're going to Australia [for stock] because we've used it all."

The company has so far provided more than 800m of hose, ranging from 25mm to 150mm in diameter, which has been primarily used to deal with the heavy fuel oil being pumped through the Archimedes screw set-up.

The local hose suppliers have formed a strong relationship with the international salvage firm. Conveniently for the geography of the maritime disaster, Hose Supplies is the only firm in the country capable of dealing with the demands of the salvage mission.

Mr Bourke said they have had a business increase of at least 50 per cent in the past month.

"It's pretty big. She's all go. I've heard people talk about the downside, but for us it's just gone nuts."

Sina Potaka, duty manager at Blue Restaurant at the foot of Mauao, said their establishment had also benefited greatly from the custom of the salvors staying in the area.

"We get them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. These men need to eat somewhere. It's an unfortunate situation but their business has helped us grow quite a lot. They're helping keep us afloat."

The salvors, many of whom are staying at the Oceanside Twin Towers Resort, have spent a lot of money in the restaurant since they arrived.

"We might be the only silver-lining restaurant. In relation to the Rena, we're doing quite well out of it ... so we've been quite lucky," she said.

Oceanside owner Margaret Gillard said having the salvors stay in their rooms had been good in a traditionally slow period.

"It's been good for us. They've created a lot of work ... since day one. In our quieter period it's created a lot of business."

Dave Rayner, pilot for Aerius Helicopters, said the charter operator had also noticed an increase in business, although on a more modest scale.

"The day after it happened our phones went crazy with people wanting to get out and see it."

But when the Rena crashed Aerius was due to open its jetboat service, but that has had to be shelved due to the dangers of the water.

For more articles from this region, go to

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf01 at 30 Dec 2014 02:50:47 Processing Time: 271ms