More oil found from Rena spill

Soldiers pick up clumps of oil off Papamoa Beach last October as the oil spill from the container ship Rena began washing up. More oil is coming ashore now that the ship has broken up. Photo / Alan Gibson
Soldiers pick up clumps of oil off Papamoa Beach last October as the oil spill from the container ship Rena began washing up. More oil is coming ashore now that the ship has broken up. Photo / Alan Gibson

Fresh oil spots from stricken container ship Rena have been found at Papamoa East beach this afternoon.

Shoreline cleanup teams have recorded spots of oil measuring 1-2 cm over 2km of Papamoa East's coastline, said Maritime New Zealand (MNZ).

Clean-up teams would return to the beach tomorrow morning to assess how best to clean it up.

The stricken cargo vessel split in two in wild seas last Saturday night, more than three months after running aground on the Astrolabe Reef near Tauranga.

The bow remains wedged firmly on the reef while the stern has mostly slipped beneath the waves, with only about a quarter above the waterline.

Rough seas and gusts of up to 25 knots were hammering the wreck this morning.

The rough weather was expected to subside over the weekend and wave heights of less than one metre were forecast for Sunday, MNZ said.

Observation flights confirmed no significant change to the two parts of the wreck, and rough seas had broken up a light sheen of oil which was leaking from the vessel.

A Svitzer salvage team was planning on taking a crane barge back out to the ship this afternoon if weather conditions permitted, to then be positioned over the weekend for container removal to begin again.

While shoreline clean-up assessment teams had been on beaches east of Maketu today but had not found any evidence of fresh oil.

"Trajectory modelling shows any oil in the water is likely to reach beaches east of Maketu. However, observation flights today have not located any visible patches of oil making their way in this direction."

There were currently 10 oiled little blue penguins and four grey faced petrels, which had lost their waterproof coating, in care at the Te Maunga facility.

Since the beginning of the week 58 dead oiled birds have been collected.

- APNZ

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