More salvors head to Rena scene

By -
The wreck of the container ship Rena that founderd on the Astrolabe Reef off the coast of Tauranga Bay of Plenty. Photo / Maritime NZ
The wreck of the container ship Rena that founderd on the Astrolabe Reef off the coast of Tauranga Bay of Plenty. Photo / Maritime NZ

Salvors were expecting to be settled into their new lodgings aboard the crane barge Smit Borneo today and anchored to the Rena.

Maritime New Zealand said it was anticipated that, weather permitting, the barge will head out to Rena today. It would take at least a day to get the barge into position and set the anchors in place for container removal.

Living in the accommodation block aboard Smit Borneo means the salvors no longer need to be flown to the Rena daily by helicopter, saving money, travel time and allowing them to be permanently available on the scene.

"The great majority [of the salvors] will stay on the Smit Borneo. This is very strategically important. It reduces travel time and its costs associated with helicopters and shuttle boat runs," Svitzer spokesman Matt Watson said.

Motion sensors on Rena yesterday confirmed no significant change has occurred in the condition of the wreck which remains in a fragile state, and the weather is expected to continue improving as winds drop.

There is a maximum 3m swell at Astrolabe Reef but this, too, is expected to decrease in the next few days.

Meanwhile, Braemar Howells teams were on Motiti Island yesterday removing container debris that had floated ashore. Teams were also working on White and Whale Islands.

Oil spill response teams were also focusing on Papamoa and Mount Maunganui beaches yesterday as well as Motiti Island.

A team was also deployed at Omanu following reports of tar balls on the beach.

The oiled wildlife response team released six dotterels at the southern end of Matakana Island yesterday and 24 little blue penguins at Mount Maunganui as part of the ongoing programme of wildlife releases.

About 30 penguins were released at 10am yesterday beside Leisure Island, supported by students from Bellevue Primary, Omanu Primary, Mount Maunganui Primary, Tahatai Coast School and Tauranga Primary schools.

Wildlife teams are also continuing to undertake night operations to check on the progress of birds already released into the wild.

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf01 at 18 Dec 2014 20:40:43 Processing Time: 385ms