The bow section of the Rena could be completely removed by the New Year, the company in charge of the operation says.
Nearly 11 months on from when Rena grounded at Astrolabe Reef, the beleaguered cargo ship remains wedged in place with salvors cutting away at her skeleton, piece by piece.
Nearly 400 tonnes of steel has already been removed from the Rena. More than 2000 tonnes are still to be taken from the wreck.
Latest pictures from the salvage operation shows workers in the process of removing large chunks of metal, which are then picked up by helicopters and carried to a nearby barge.
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Resolve Salvage & Fire, the company in charge of the operation, have removed 85 individual pieces of steel - mainly from the tip of the bow section.
Hugo Shanahan, spokesman for the Rena salvors and operation, said it was likely the task would be completed within the initial deadline of early 2013. "From 300 tonnes on Friday to approximately 400 tonnes now, it just reflects that rate in which the bow is being reduced and as long as the weather is good, they will finish well within that time."
The operation to remove the bow section of the stricken vessel began at the start of the month.
The Greek-based Daina Shipping Company will face two counts of discharging harmful substances under the Resource Management Act. The company, yet to plead to the charges, is due to have matters heard in the Tauranga District Court on October 5.