Kerre McIvor

Kerre McIvor is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Kerre Woodham: Rena's holding strong for us

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Salvors removing containers from the Rena, say the ship is trying to talk to them, asking for help. Photo / Getty Images
Salvors removing containers from the Rena, say the ship is trying to talk to them, asking for help. Photo / Getty Images

I am full of admiration for the salvors working on the Rena.

Weeks of working in dangerous, toxic, black oily water have paid off now 1700 tonnes of oil has been siphoned off the stricken ship which ran aground on the Astrolabe reef off Tauranga nearly two months ago.

It must have been a dreadful job, and now the salvors removing the 1280 gravity-defying containers that the Rena was carrying.

And despite the terrible damage she sustained in the grounding and despite storms and high winds that seem certain to deliver the final death blow to the mortally wounded container ship, the Rena is holding together.

What a brave and stoic old girl she is.

I know more rational and pragmatic people will accuse me of anthropomorphism but some inanimate objects really do seem to have personalities and the Rena is one of them.

Even the salvors agree and you could hardly accuse those tough, intelligent, courageous men of being woofters.

They talk of the ship as a lame dying beast. The sound of the severed hull grinding against itself, they say, is like the ship crying or trying to talk to them, asking them for help.

She has defied all sorts of predictions in staying together, as if she is trying to do her bit to protect the coastline. It seems unlikely that she will be able to hang on until all the containers can be removed - the best predictions are that it would be at least a year before they could all be taken off the ship - but in holding together as long as it has, the Rena has helped avert an ecological catastrophe.

- Herald on Sunday

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