20 October 2011

Tauranga grounding - Rena update (update 36) - 3.50pm 20 Oct 2011


Salvage unit manager Bruce Anderson says a team of nine salvors is currently aboard the vessel Rena and began pumping oil at 12.09pm, after carrying out safety checks.

“The salvors have resumed pumping operations, but a number of safety checks needed to be carried out first. This is an extremely involved and highly complex operation. The last thing we want to do is to rush this process.”

Volunteer beach clean-ups have resumed at the Main Mount Maunganui beach and Maketu, and a site manager training session will be held today at Omanu Beach.

One of the more than 80 containers swept off the container ship Rena has come ashore on Motiti Island in the Bay of Plenty, located south of the Astrolabe Reef where the ship is aground

Clean-up operations:

Clean-up operations coordinated through local iwi are also underway along the eastern coastline, where some oil and debris has come ashore as far as the East Cape. National On Scene Commander Ian Niblock says there are no reports of new oil on beaches or from the vessel Rena, however oiled debris has washed up in parts of the East Cape.

“Oil is occurring at natural collection points along the coast from Mt Maunganui to Maketu and we’re using these collection points as a base for ongoing clean-up operations.

Public Health:

“We’re well prepared and have response options in place with more than 6,000 volunteers, along with daily surveillance from air and on shore. We’re also reviewing the beach closures for the Bay of Plenty coastline, aware that the long weekend is coming up. We want people to enjoy themselves, but the safety of the public is paramount.

“We do need to remind local communities to not touch any oil or oiled debris and to report it to 0800 OIL SPILL. It’s also important not to eat seafood in areas where there has been or currently is oil contamination,” Ian Niblock says.

An online training video has been developed to supplement induction for volunteers wanting to assist with official, coordinated beach clean-up activities. The training video can be viewed at - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xN5isW8s8FU&feature=youtu.be

Source: Maritime New Zealand. 20 October 2011

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