A new fuel transfer system on board the stranded cargo ship Rena has doubled pumping capacity as good weather continues to help oil recovery efforts.

Salvors stopped pumping for a few hours yesterday afternoon while they installed a new pump and hose to remove fuel oil from the port number 5 tank.

The new system was now up and running and a team of three salvors remained on board the Rena to oversee pumping operations overnight.

Maritime New Zealand salvage unit manager Bruce Anderson said the new hose had a 15cm diameter _ double the size of the previous hose.


"That hose is used to take fuel out of the tank, and it then splits into two separate three inch (7.5cm) hoses, each fitted with booster pumps. Those hoses then take the fuel to the Awanuia,'' he said.

The good weather had allowed salvage operations to make good progress, with conditions forecast to be favourable until at least Thursday.

A day crew of about 12 salvors would be on board the Rena today as efforts continue to speed up the removal process.

Salvors had by 1pm yesterday pumped a total of 337 tonnes of oil from the port number 5 tank, which originally contained 772 tonnes.

The ship had been carrying 1700 tonnes of fuel oil when it grounded on the Astrolabe Reef near Tauranga more than two weeks ago.

A dive team confirmed yesterday that the submerged starboard tank, which holds 320 tonnes of oil, was intact.

``The fact that divers found the starboard tank intact is excellent. We hope to start recovering oil from this tank soon,'' Mr Anderson said.

A further 5-10 tonnes of oil leaked from the vessel on Saturday, but there were no reports of more fuel leaking overnight.

Aerial observation flights would today monitor the fresh spill, which was predicted to move slowly offshore to the north.

National on-scene commander Rob Service said on-water oil recovery operations yesterday recovered a small amount of oil.

``We acted immediately upon receiving confirmation of the slick yesterday and sent four vessels with offshore booms and skimmers.

``However, even in the relatively calm conditions yesterday it was still very difficult to recover much oil. Now the oil has weathered in the marine environment for 24 hours it is even more difficult to recover with skimmers, but we will continue to monitor the oil and prepare to respond if it reaches any shoreline.''

Phil Keoghan from the television show The Amazing Race was to met with oil clean-up volunteers on Mt Maunganui beach this morning.