Sunken Rena 'could kill divers'

By Ellen Irvine of the Bay of Plenty Times

Rena slowly sinks beneath the waves off. Photo / Graeme Brown
Rena slowly sinks beneath the waves off. Photo / Graeme Brown

A maritime expert says leaving the Rena's stern under water could make it a hazard for curious divers.

There have been calls for the stern to be left where it eventually comes to rest as a diving spot after it began slipping from Astrolabe Reef yesterday and started to sink.

Marine consultant John Riding, a maritime adviser to the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and a former UK Maritime and Coastguard employee, favours removing the sunken stern from the ocean.

"The last thing we want them to do is leave it there. That is an option, but I don't think that's the practical option given where it is.

"You could say it's not a hazard to navigation but the wreck needs to be removed.

"Astrolabe Reef is a dive attraction. With the stern of the Rena lying on the Astrolabe Reef it will become an even bigger dive attraction - it will kill people.''

Mr Riding said the bottom of the reef was beyond the limits of recreational divers.

Several divers have died exploring the wreckage of the MS Mikhail Lermontov, which sank in the Marlborough Sounds in 1986.

Mr Riding said that wreck was in relatively shallow water, and if the Rena was left as a wreck it would likely claim the lives of far more divers.

"Having a reef like that adjacent to (the Rena wreck) is a safety hazard for people.

"There is technology [to remove it], but it becomes more lengthy and expensive.''

- NZ Herald

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