21 October 2011

Tauranga incident - Rena update 39 - 21 Oct 2011: 2.00pm

The ocean washes in and out of the wide fracture on Rena's starboard side. 2o Oct 2011

The salvage team is continuing to pump oil from the cargo vessel Rena today, making slow but steady progress, Salvage Unit Manager Andrew Berry says.

Rena's bow is broken and twisted from the impact with the Astrolabe Reef off Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty. 20 Oct 11

“The volume of oil collected is taking some time to measure, due to the large size of the tank on the Awanuia, which is receiving the oil from Rena.

The line taking oil from Rena to the oil tanker Awanuia is supported by buoys between the two ships. 20 Oct 11

“The wind is blowing up to 30 knots at times, which is causing difficulties for the operation. However, the team is remaining on the ship for the time being.”

A fracture and buckling extends down Rena's hull on the port side. 20 Oct 11

National On Scene Commander Alex van Wijngaarden said shoreline clean-up work was going well, with volunteer teams today working at Harrison’s Cut at Papamoa, Mount Maunganui, Maketu and Waihau Bay.

Decontamination training was successfully carried out in Waihau Bay this morning, Captain van Wijngaarden said.

“We have sent equipment to the eastern Bay of Plenty, with more than 500 units of personal protective equipment and decontamination equipment sent to Waihau Bay.

A fracture and buckling extends down Rena's hull on the port side. 20 Oct 11

“We also have trained teams assessing the shoreline to ensure we take a methodical and safe approach to the clean up. What we’ve seen so far out in Waihau Bay is a lot of debris from the containers, rather than oil – it’s a natural collection point and we will just have to keep cleaning and re-cleaning those areas.”

Captain van Wijngaarden said a number of goods and services had been donated to the Rena response.

Rena’s remaining containers hang precariously. More than 80 containers have fallen overboard. Many have come ashore, and others are being located on the seabed. This picture was taken from the stern starboard (right) side. 20 Oct 11

“We’re extremely appreciative of the individuals and businesses that have shown their support to the response effort.

“We are continuing to get amazing support from the local community, in the form of volunteers, donations, and general feedback. We really appreciate this – it is hugely encouraging to the team to see everyone get behind the response.”

The degree of twisting along Rena's hull on the port (left side) can be seen in this picture. 19 Oct 11

The main Mount Maunganui Beach will remain open for public access over the long weekend.

Calm conditions around Astrolabe Reef allowed these close up photos of the Rena’s stern to be taken. 20 Oct 11
Capt van Wijngaarden said he appreciated people wanted other beaches open for the long weekend, but the risk of contaminating clean areas with oil was too high.

Shoreline clean-up assessment teams have confirmed that earlier reports of oiling at Whakatane Spit and Ohope Beach are incorrect.

Ornithologist David Melville with a rare and protected New Zealand dotterell, at risk from Rena's oil spill. 21 Oct 11

The Department of Conservation has confirmed a pygmy sperm whale that beached at Ohope Beach this morning has been refloated. The whale was assessed by DOC specialists, who advise the stranding was unrelated to the oil spill from Rena.

David Hurn, one of the many hundreds of volunteers involved in the clean up of beaches in the Bay of Plenty, concentrates on the rocks around Mount Maunganu. 20 Oct 11

There will be five volunteer events taking place along the coastline tomorrow, and these will be coordinated through local iwi, the Defence Force and the volunteer coordination group.

Tourists from Chile, Lorena Bravo and Sebastian Gabler pitch in at the wildlife centre to clean boots and other gear used in the oil clean up. 20 Oct 11

Get shipshape before you head out: 21 October 2011 11.00am

Labour Weekend is coming up - and boaties everywhere will start heading for the water.

Now is the time for boat owners and skippers to ensure their boats, gears – and skills – are up to scratch, says Jim Lilley, Maritime New Zealand’s Acting Manager Recreational Boating.

“We’ve reviewed many tragic accidents over the years, and we know that things can very suddenly go wrong when out on the water, regardless of a skipper’s level of skill or experience. If you are well prepared and make sensible choices, it can mean the difference between life and death.”

Jim says recreational boating deaths for 2011 stood at nine by 31 July. Major factors continue to be failing to wear lifejackets, not checking the weather, not carrying reliable communications, alcohol and speed.

“Each boating tragedy shows just how important it is for all boaties to be prepared for the worst,” says Jim.

“Trouble can hit without warning. In an emergency, finding your lifejacket and putting it on is sometimes impossible.

“To be safe, wear your lifejacket and have a reliable way of calling for help at your fingertips, such as a marine VHF radio or a distress beacon (PLB or EPIRB) clipped to you or to your lifejacket. A cellphone is useful as a back-up – as long as it’s in a sealed plastic bag.”

Jim says last year’s total of 14 recreational boating deaths was a significant improvement on 24 in 2009, but is still 14 people too many.

“That is still 14 families that have lost loved ones,” says Jim. “There are plenty of easy, commonsense things boaties can do to prevent that. Check the marine weather forecast before you go out; watch your speed and stay off the booze until you get home – it will all help ensure you come home safe to your family.”

Jim says the other key area for boat owners to focus on is ensuring their vessels are working properly before taking to the water. “And make sure that any safety equipment – such as lifejackets or PFDs (personal flotation devices) and communications equipment – is well maintained and in good working order,” he says.

“If you’re taking the boat out for the first time after winter, or using it frequently, regular checks are the only way you will have trouble-free boating. Make sure your boat is well maintained and equipped, and know how and when to use your equipment – it will all help you stay safe.”

Source: Maritime New Zealand. 21 October 2011

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