Salvage of MV Rena Continues…

Posted: 10/17/2011 in all marine news

gCaptain – 

Maritime New Zealand is focused Monday on removing oil from a cargo vessel grounded on a reef off the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island.

MNZ Salvage Unit Head Bruce Anderson said 21 tons of oil were pumped from the vessel overnight onto the Awanuia, after pumping operations got underway late Sunday and continued successfully throughout the night.

“Considering that the oil is the consistency of marmite and has to be pushed through 150 meters of hose, this represents an excellent effort,” Anderson said. A salvage team worked through the night to pump oil from the ship, and will continue to work through the day as long as conditions safely allow.

The MV Rena cargo vessel struck the Astrolabe Reef Oct. 5 on its way to Tauranga, and oil leaks were detected soon after. Up until recently bad weather had hampered attempts to remove the oil.

By late last week around 350 tons of oil had spilled into the sea and 88 containers had been lost overboard, causing the worst environmental marine disaster in New Zealand’s history, with around 60 kilometers of coastline affected. At least another 1,000 tons of oil were thought to still be on board the ship.

National On Scene Commander Nick Quinn said clean-up crews will continue to look for oil along the coastline Monday. Most beaches also remain closed in the area and all the local beaches have a swimming ban.

As of late Sunday, 181 live birds were being treated at the Oiled Wildlife Recovery Centre. Three fur seals are also in care. About 1,250 dead birds have been recovered to date.

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